I seem to come out of my New Year’s fog on Tuesday – it was that apparent, I can tell you the exact day I stopped feeling both physically and mentally tired. I have not changed a thing, in fact I have not been getting enough sleep and craving sugar. I should check the Schumann Resonance for that day and see if there was a change.
My new studio groove means working on one unfinished project a day and photographing/pricing one yarn listing a day, until I get caught up. I do this before starting a new spinning project. I hear that 2021 is a purge year, and I’m sure feeling that. I’m motivated to get items moved out of the studio.
On a bad note, my computer went bust earlier this week, luckily the resident geek in the house repaired it (for now). Two requirements for handmade ecommerce: a computer & the internet. Needless to say, I am on the hunt for a new one.
Since December is a busy month for me, January tends to run on a leisurely pace. I’ve been concentrating on finishing up older projects and considering what I’d like to do next.
Still, as enjoyable as this slow down should be, the “winter blahs” have set in. I feel more tired and less motivated than usual. It’s probably time to up my vitamin D3 and B12, and more so, simply accept that I will be moving at a slower pace, and that’s okay!
I’m a few days late with my weekly update – but something miraculous happened on Monday: it was sunny! This has been a very drab winter thus far. One downfall of living on a rocky jagged coastline in Canada!
With sun means I was able to take new product photos. I do have studio lighting, but nothing beats natural light for product photos. Only one new listing for this week – She Sells Seashells – scroll down to see, and I’ll probably do one listing a week for now. I’m trying to have a bit of a break to work on personal projects (and to have time to think of new items I can design for sale).
Until next time, I wish you a week of peace & calm…
Happy New year! We flipped the calendar for yet another 365 days, though I suspect the real “new” year is in March. 😉 I’m a tad late with my update. No new products this week but I have some new stitch markers and jewelry that I’m excited to release in the near future.
Here’s a look at what I’m currently working on. The finished products will be revealed when they are listed and ready for sale.
Keep those positive vibes going, I have a feeling we are in for a rough 3 months. Be sure to keep creative and talk it out as much as possible. Your mental health and well being is everything. 💗💫
No new products this week, as I’ve been taking the time to do some baking with my girls, and to get the studio tidied up. When I’m busy with orders, it starts to look like a bomb hit! I do have a few new items as well as revamped items to photograph. Hopefully to do on a sunny day. Winter can be so dark and depressing here in the Maritimes.
I find it ironic how simplified our year has been, and yet, the Holidays still seems hectic! I think my problem is the possibilities of what I would like to accomplish, as I feel like I have time to do it this year. But in fact, orders have picked up significantly this season and I’ve come to the conclusion I still hate being in the kitchen (ha!).
Take for example my goal to have all handmade gifts this year, with the exception of my girls, who want books, lego etc. They are privy to my handmade things all year round. I’m too tired in the evenings to get gifts accomplished, and too busy during the day to work on them. I think I have to start to make handmade gifts…a year in advance! 😉
I dont know if I’ll have an update next week as I’d Ike to have a break, but if I manage to create something interesting I’ll certainly share it here.
I received an e-mail today from Canada Post to warn Small Business customers they are over capacity, despite hiring an extra 4000 temporary employees for the holiday rush. Because of this, I cannot guarantee you’ll receive packages by a certain date whether you have purchased tracking or not. I have been mailing all packages within 24 hours (with the exception of weekends) and upgrading customers free of charge to Expedited shipping (Canada) and tracked packet (USA) whenever possible. This comes out of my pocket. I know this may not be the smartest business move, but it’s the right thing for me to do so that you have the most positive experience possible. Once it goes in the mailbox, it’s out of my hands.
Still, should your package go missing whether shipping with or without tracking you will be compensated. My usual policy is to refund or replace should your item not arrive within 30 days (your choice). It’s worth noting, I have never had a package go missing in Canada, and only a handful to the US. Most of the time packages don’t get delivered due to address errors on part of the buyer. This usually happens when items are getting shipped to 3rd parties. When these items get returned to me (eventually, usually after I’ve refunded the customer) they get returned to me at my expense. Yes, carriers charge for returned packages, meaning I’m out double the cost of shipping. This is why I’m currently not shipping international: too many lost or returned packages.
Anyway, I was too tired to last night to do my usual weekly wrap up, but I did get a couple new products up this week:
What else is new? I’ve been making stitch markers mostly these days, my most popular items for sale, even surpassing my popular charm necklaces.
On Saturday I participated in the 12/12 mass meditation, and unlike 11/11, that left me feeling like I was coming out of a long illness, and “off” for days after, this time I emerged feeling full of a deep knowing that all would be fine. I was emanating pure love, and I’m hoping to keep those good vibes flowing, until the next one on Dec 21st. It was a profound experience but I have not found the right words to describe it yet.
Anyone else find that December began with little fanfare? Add to the monotony of this year, it’s unseasonably mild here in the Maritimes. The kids handled the Christmas decorating, and yesterday I had to remind them that we hadn’t started the Advent Calendar (oops).
Still, I’ve never felt happier. To a certain extent, I feel it is my duty to stay positive, and keep those good vibes churning out to the world. I refuse to get sucked into the mainstream news and the political battles. There’s always more than we are permitted to know. I prefer to vibrate higher than all of that. 😉
Another busy week of home duties and product orders but I did get a few new listings up:
As always, my humble thanks for your support, you all keep me going! I’m dedicated to keep advancing in my craft and this year I feel more confident than ever in my abilities.
I know it’s hard to shop local when many business are closed or limiting the number of customers right now. With the exception of big box stores, which is hugely hypocritical on part of the government. Normally, the majority of my customers are from the United States, which being from Canada I always found odd. It hasn’t seemed like Canadians have embraced online shopping to the extent of our neighbors to the south.
This holiday season, my US orders are way down, and are mostly from Canadians. I miss my US customers but happy to get more Canadian sales, all the same. I was really thrilled this past week to fulfill orders for several new customers from here in Nova Scotia. I’m hoping this trend continues since mailing items in the same province tends to arrive very quickly, and I’m happy to offer the gift of handmade to my fellow Maritimers.
If you are like me and find wearing a mask difficult, it’s nice to know there are places to shop locally without having to go out, that’s not another big box store option.
I humbly thank you for the chance to create something beautiful whether it be for yourself or for a gift this holiday season. I hope you will be back in the future for more. ❤
Here’s what’s newly available this week…
This is your weekly reminder to choose love over fear, to love each other fiercely and to tune into your higher self/tune out the negative media…
I mentioned last week feeling totally drained after participating in a global mass meditation on Nov 11th. For days after I felt lethargic, depressed and low-vibrational. Something shifted the end of this week and now I feel incredibly positive, hopeful and – excited for the future! Those who know me IRL know that when I say this, I mean I feel it for us ALL. I don’t know about you, but after an entire year being bombarded with negativity I’ll take any expression of a positive future…
It’s officially Holiday rush season, and I’ve been upgrading everyone’s shipping to expedited (Canada) or tracked packet (US) free of charge. I can’t do it if your item cost less than the actual shipping. Canadian shipping charges are ridiculously expensive. I’ve lost out on a few orders, esp. yarn, where the shipping charges made up more than half the cost of the yarn. I know this does not make sense business wise BUT as I’ve said before it makes sense to me ethically. Shipping volumes are up significantly compared to past busy seasons, and Canada Post is not honoring shipping guarantees. I’ll do everything in my power to get your orders to you in a timely fashion, but please understand there are no guarantees that items will be received by a certain date.
This year, more than ever, it is really important to shop local and support the small businesses in our area. The big box store does not have to close since the government has labeled them an “essential” service. The small local shops may be able to do curbside or online orders if they are forced to close. In my case, I encourage Nova Scotians especially to order from shops like me, since shipping times are much quicker within the province than outside.
I’m reserving my time for orders these days as well as wrapping up year end tasks. I did get a few relists done:
Can you believe we are coming to the end of 2020? In many ways, it feels like it just started. What an important personal development and karmic year, 2020 has been! It certainly has pushed us to reexamine our lives whether we wanted to or not.
This will most likely be a very short update this week. It’s been a strange “what’s that pain” kind of week. Including: pressure behind my left eye that made it hard for me to read or watch TV. I suspect it’s eye strain and a type of headache but it was not something I’d experienced before. It happened after a long session of website maintainance followed by frantic pattern buying (Knit Picks had a $1 sale 😀).
On Wednesday, I participated in a worldwide consciousness action, where I went into a meditative state at 11:11am my local time. It was an incredibly profound & powerful experience: I could feel these waves in/out of my forehead & top of head. Afterward instead of feeling refreshed per usual, I felt weak, like coming out of a long illness. My forehead vibrated for hours after, in fact, my forehead didn’t even feel attached to my head, like it was floating a few inches ahead of me. I was still recuperating the following day. Despite the ill feelings, I know this was an important outcome & I plan on participating in the next one on 12/12…
Then, in my rush to catch up the latter part of the week, I over worked my back and gave myself a tension headache – and this is where we are currently, in bed with the heating pad. 🤕
Despite this, I got a few old faves updated and re-listed:
Alright, back to resting my back…see you next week…
My week was cut short this week due to a migraine. My migraines always last 3 days, no matter what I do. Luckily it wasn’t a full blown one, I could still function, albeit much slower. I think this is because I’ve been keeping up with my magnesium. This is the first migraine I’ve had in a few months which for me is really good. I’m blaming this one on the junk food I ate last weekend…I should know better!
I see a lot of people happy to see the year end, even gearing up for Christmas. I know fam in the Philippines, Christmas season starts in the “ber” months (as in, kicks off Sept 1st) but that is too much Christmas for the average Canadian. Personally I am in no hurry to see the year end. I refuse to wish my life away, and I really don’t see much improving next year. I’m happy to cherish everyday, learn a new skill, spend time with my rapidly growing kids, support my hubby and keep on reaching out to feel those vibes.
Despite the headache & gut rot from Halloween candy, I got some revamped listings completed. Some got slight tweaks, others just needed an updated photo.
What about yarn? Of course I got some spinning in! Rarely a day goes by when I dont. Even with a headache I’ll sneak a few minutes in. I’m excited to report I am finished with my yarn re-vamp project. I am feeling a renewed excitement to knit or crochet my yarns again, and I was even able to move a few in the “to sell” pile 😄
I am such a stickler for balancing yarns. Sometimes it’s impossible to get a 100% balanced yarn without sacrificing twist/bounce- particularly when you are talking about one plies or crepes. I still prefer the look of a plied yarn over its singles cousin.
Now that I’m done revamping and am free to make whatever I want, I’m feeling a bit lost as to where to start. Too many options/possibilities! So I think I will go back to blending/processing wool and contemplate it. I still have a bit of cormo that I hand-processed to finish blending, and some Icelandic that washed up brilliantly white, I’m not sure if I want to dye it.
Now that the days are short I’m looking forward to using the dark hours to create, to manifest good things and to rest (who am I kidding about that last one?? 😉)
I didn’t get as many revamped listings up as I would have liked this week. Autumn domestic chores called, and I had the sudden craving for homemade bread, so out came the bread maker. I don’t have time to make traditional bread, so I thought this was a good alternative. It turned out so good I think I will move along to no knead breads. I found a recipe for cooking a no knead bread in a Dutch oven and I am intrigued!
I love bread, but it doesn’t really agree with me. Plus it’s autumn which means over consumption aaaaand…I start to resemble a lump of dough. 😅 But I digress…
I also had the privilege of filling some awesome yarn orders this week, which has done my creative spirit good. The mail has gotten excruciatingly slow again, I think it’s because people are doing their holiday shopping early this year (per usual, I’m all done 😉). So this causes a bit of worry about my customer’s experience buying from me. I know that it’s out of my hands, but it still feels unacceptable to me.
This week I had a $29 order for a skein of yarn thru Etsy. It was light enough I could have sent it regular post for $5.47. Because the mail was so slow I ended up biting the bullet and sending it Expedited for – $17 after taxes!! Welcome to shipping in Canada. Well, you do the math, I pretty much gave away that skein of handspun. Get this: it’s cheaper to send goods to the US with tracking than within our own country, and I find it tends to arrive quicker too. 🤷♀️
I know that wasn’t the smartest business decision dollar and cents wise, however, it was the best decision for me ethically and conscientiously, so I have no regrets. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m not in this for the money. 😉
Here’s whats newly listed, at least, freshened up. I revamped the Celtic charms so that you can choose from a faceted green bead or freshwater pearl. It comes on both a ball chain key chain & lobster clasp, for convenience of clipping or hanging on an item. Both could easily be removed so that you could add to your own key ring or jewelry.
These earrings were also in the sample binder, along with last week’s. They are really cute and feel good in hand – I feel confident about offering them again. Pewter charms on your choice of sterling silver or gold-filled leverbacks.
Last week I shared that I was going thru my personal stash and re-vamping yarns. I sell the majority of my yarns, and keep the ones that are not quite up to snuff, in my opinion. Re-vamping may consist of over-dyeing, running thru the wheel again to tighten the ply, or adding another ply of handspun in the opposite direction (like a crepe yarn). The odd time, I will deconstruct a yarn entirely. I don’t really do this anymore: un-coiling a plied yarn is as tedious as it sounds!
I like how this one turned out, it’s nice and fluffy and interesting. Best of all it’s structurally sound, which is the main thing.
The second one came out so nice and fluffy, I have set it aside to potentially sell. Even the little pieces of pouf throughout the yarn adds to its charm and that bit of interest you can only achieve with a handspun yarn. It too was re-spun in the same manner as the first yarn.
That’s my week in a nutshell. Spiritually, I am feeling a bit detached, but I trust it is all part of the process while we work toward brighter days…
Mercury officially went into retro-grade Tuesday, so I knew it was a good week to start the re-vamp of old products. It was also a short (work) week due to the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, so I didn’t get too many things relisted. Here’s a look at what I did get up to this week…
One of the first things I did was go thru my sample binder. I stumbled upon a few pairs of sweetheart earrings and thought, why am I not currently selling these?! They are darling cute, and with 7 different colors of freshwater pearls, there are plenty of options for customizing. The pewter charms paired with either sterling silver or gold-filled ear wires give the earrings a well-made feel without being too heavy. I am really proud to list these again.
Several years ago, I used to sell a lot of Celtic themed jewelry. I am from Nova Scotia, so Celtic themed objects are not uncommon here. You can even study the Gaelic language in Cape Breton. The popularity seems to have dipped for my Celtic themed products in the past few years, so I eventually stopped relisting them on Etsy. Looking at the samples, they are still really nice looking earrings, so I am offering them again while supplies last.
I have several variations of these engraved silver and gold plated charms. I decided to offer them with a bit of bling at no extra charge. I think they stand out more on a bag or piece of clothing with a freshwater pear or faceted bead added. I also added a lobster clasp so that you have the choice of clipping it on or attaching with the ball chain key chain. You can easily remove the Keychain and clasp if you’d like to add the charm to exiting jewelry or keyring. First up is the doula charms, with breastfeeding awareness, babywearing, and international child charms coming next week.
If you’re on my Instagram, you may have seen a few yarns I re-vamped from my personal stash this summer. I sell the vast majority of my yarns, because I’d rather be making yarn than knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both knitting and crochet, I just prefer to be at my wheel. I keep the yarns that were fails or simply not up to snuff for my standards.
One of my all-time fave yarn constructions is crepe. I am an avid plyer- which is strange considering I was adamant I would only make bulky 1-ply art yarns when I started spinning. Judith MacKenzie’s “The Gentle Art of Plying” and Sarah Anderson’s “The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs” really inspired me to both perfect and play with plying. So I rarely make one plies anymore, opting for the balance and interest of a plied yarn.
The secret to a good crepe yarn is in the twist. Basically a crepe is 2 plies spun together, then you re-spin to one extra ply in the opposite direction. It’s important to add extra twist to the first two plies in order to have a balanced 3 ply crepe. The yarn pictured above was a fun and funky 2-ply but was not structurally sound. Therefore, I will run it back through my spinning wheel to add more twist, before re-spinning it the opposite way to an additional ply. I’ll post the results next week.
The re-vamp project will continue all month, or months…or, when I get tired of doing it 😉
Between mercury retrograde and the general vibe on earth as of late, I’ve come to some revelations this week that looked downright horrific. It’s crunch time for all sensitives and intuitives, and I cannot stress enough now is the time to visualize the future you desire, to choose love over fear, and spin some good vibrations into the air. We all can do this, regardless of where we are at on our spiritual journey or abilities. I am still optimistic we are headed for better days, but cautiously feel the next few weeks will set the stage. This is my plea to all to please take this time to work through your fears and emotions, and embrace love, compassion & understanding. Keep an open mind, beware of group think. My children’s, and all children’s futures depend on it…
I got this week’s listings finished early! I will be cooking for the fam for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, and I’d like to enjoy the process unhindered. I’m not big on cooking, and I only enjoy it if I can concentrate all my energies on it. Still, I love to see my kids’ and my hub’s eyes light up when they eat a meal I prepared.
This week’s lovely offerings, all made par moi:
I feel very accomplished to have 9 listings done mid-week. I also feel there has been a shift, energetically this week. I feel very light, and hopeful. I hope it’s a long term trend but I’ll take it if even a fleeting moment. I wonder what my fellow intuitives & empaths are feeling…?
I’m pretty much caught up on yarn to list. I pulled a few from the 35 new skeins available that I want to re-think or even re-imagine. I’m very thoughtful about the products I put up for sale.
With yarn caught up, I’m going to focus on older jewelry products that I pulled to re-consider. Some will re-appear as is, and will be discontinued once all are sold. Others will be slightly tweaked or “freshened up” since they were developed over a decade ago!
Happy thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. Instead of obediently being “thankful”, let’s try to send some light out to the world and beyond…
I had a rather mundane week of listing new products. I’ve been guarding my spirit and emotions all week: something is afoot. Here’s is a recap of what’s new this week…
I’ve created a coupon code for 15% off orders of $100CAD or more (approx. $75USD). Available both here on this site and on etsy: BULKSAVE100 at checkout.
New products listed this week. I’m trying to catch up on the backlog of items created over the past several months, so it won’t be this many every week. I should be caught up in the next couple of weeks, and then I want to revisit some older designs that I still like but feel they just need a bit of tweaking.
I wanted to share this really cool pic, taken this morning. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen it. Every so often we get fog over the valley but it never seems to get quite as high as us here on the mountain. It gives the feeling of being among the clouds, and also very disorienting when you are used to seeing a vibrant valley below.
I forgot to share the new listings from last week. Both available here and on etsy:
This was shared by my friend and soul sister @orek.e.l_saj777 on Instagram. I think it sums up this coming few months beautifully (and also expresses how I’ve felt for the past 7 months):
In my last post I promised that I would blog more. So I put it under “goals” on my to-do list to do one post a week. I don’t seem to get the urge to blog anymore, so now it has been penciled in. 🙃🙂
After that was decided, the question was: what shall I write about this week? Then this happened: I broke one of my smallest sets of bamboo circular needles. 😫 I’d love to say I broke them after a fierce session of sock knitting, but it was due to my own carelessness.
I’m a huge believer in mindfulness, and try to make a point to be present, in-the-moment, for most of my day. Even during the most mundane of tasks (you won’t believe the epiphanies I’ve had whilst folding laundry by simply staying in the moment!).
On the other hand, I am also someone who possesses a great deal of energy and motivation to plow through and get shit done, so I can get back to creating. When I get going, I can be a bit of a bull in a china shop (I am a Taurus, afterall!). 😉
So I was going thru the yarn bin in my bedroom, and saw a ball of handspun silk yarn I thought was in the wrong place. This yarn bin is for in progress projects. I was not knitting any projects with silk, to my knowledge. I picked up the ball, and – huh. The end of the yarn was stuck on something. So I gently tugged. Still was stuck. I pulled a little harder, and harder until the ball came free. I was confused because not only did I have the yarn, but circulars with knitting on it…well, I had 75% of the circulars anyway. Seems I started a pair of socks months ago I totally forgot about.
Yup. I broke a set of circulars just being careless. 😫 I was really upset with myself: not only did I break a useful tool, I absolutely hate waste. What am I going to do with a broken set of circulars? Can I re-purpose them? Then I thought, maybe I can fix them…
Before I was a fiber artist, I was an avid jewelry maker (still am!) so I have quite a few tools at my disposal. The tools are for working on small objects, so I thought I may have just the thing to help fix these. Off to the tool closet to dig in the Dremel bits. A-ha! A tiny burr which happens to be the same size as the opening where the bamboo needle attaches. I had to ream out all the wood that snapped inside if I had any chance of re-attaching the needle.
Steadying the arm holding the circular end on the arm of my chair, I rested the arm holding the Dremel on the side of said chair arm. I have a flex shaft attachment on my Dremel so I find holding it super easy – I’m sure this would work fine without, you just need a steady hand. On the lowest speed I got to work slowly. Before I knew it, the bit goes clear in the metal end and it’s completely clear of bits of bamboo. It also made the cutest little pile of saw dust.
I used the same burr to shave down the end of the needle. It was slightly wider than the opening and wouldn’t fit as us. Then, I used a piece of sandpaper to give it a smoother texture. I admit I could have done a better job at smoothing out the end, but at this point I was getting anxious to see if it had worked. I did a couple of fittings before getting enough shaved down that it felt snug inside the metal.
As an added precaution to make sure that needle end stayed put, I went looking for an appropriate adhesive. E6000 seems to be in every jewelry maker’s arsenal. I applied a small amount to the needle’s end, before returning it to its rightful place on the circulars. Now to wait for the adhesive to dry.
Close up it does look like a puppy chewed on the end, but not so bad in real life. It certainly doesn’t feel like stitches would snag on them. We’ll know for sure once I put them to use.
After they had rested for a few hours I was seriously impressed at how solid they felt. I’ll know for sure if they are truly fixed once I knit with them. I will get a replacement set, just in case. Probably another brand, maybe steel just because I like to have different tools at my disposal. You never can have too many knitting needles in my opinion! 😉
I live in a rural area so will have to order a new set, if you have any suggestions of what to get I’d love to hear it!
Thanks for reading about my broken needle saga. I hope I’ve inspired you to try fixing a broken item before throwing it away. You just never know! 😊
I am well overdue for an update! I won’t lie. I kinda forgot about this blog. I realized that since the most recent post was LAST YEAR it may appear that I am not actively creating and maintaining this website. Not true at all! I am as busy as ever. I did shut my Etsy shop down for several months this spring due to how slow the mail was moving, but that seems to have improved – so I’ve been back full time fulfilling orders for a couple of months now. I received a few orders thru this site during that time, and although delivery was slow I am thankful for the few sales I did receive.
If you just stumbled upon my site, I’m Leilani. I’m a multicultural, multifaceted maker currently living in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia: mom, wife & cat mama. I’m formerly from the greater Montreal area, which is where I did the majority of my online selling until we moved back to Nova Scotia 5 years ago, where both my husband & I were born & raised. I’ve actually been selling online since the late 90’s in the early ebay days (boy, do I miss that community!) so I have a lot of experience with online selling. Creating and honing my creative skills is a passion of mine: it keeps me hopeful, grounded and positive. It’s an outlet for my expression, and to create something beautiful and positive in this chaotic, uncertain world.
Being home pretty much full time since March gave me the opportunity to create almost uninterrupted (I do have kids, they are very self-sufficient and we are already homeschoolers (unschoolers) so education flowed smoothly with very little transition or change to our schedule). I now have several new jewelry pieces that were revamped and 35 (!!) new skeins of yarn to list (this not including what I made/revamped to keep for myself). I was able to try out and hone skills that I never had time for before. Creatively, 2020 has been a very positive year.
I’ve also had the chance to get back to my spiritual side – all that woo woo stuff I have gravitated to since I was a child. I have had many profound experiences since I was…well, as long as I can remember. I’ve often wondered if I am an Indigo child but I choose not to label this strong connection to all that is. I’m an empath and have been quite surprised that my anxiety has not increased these past few months. I’m really drawn to gemstones again, and feel very grounded when I wear them. I am going to make a bracelet to help balance my root chakra: at the very least, the stones will be a constant reminder of what I need to consciously repair/improve. Hopefully, that will evolve into a new jewelry line I can offer to my customers, but like everything I do, if it doesn’t feel right, I simply don’t do it.
So a few “housekeeping” items to update you on. I have had to limit my shipments to Canada and US only (again). I was excited to offer shipping to the UK, hopeing that would open the door to broader shipping internationally, but the supplier I was using was really slow, and items were coming back return to sender at my expense. I traded in lost packages (why I stopped shipping internationally in the first place) to returned undelivered packages. I’m just too small beans to have these kinds of monetary losses.
Social networking update: I’ve decided to let my Facebook page go, although I will keep it live for information purposes. I think the pinned post goes to my Etsy reviews. I’m happy to streamline my day to day behind-the-scenes work to my Instagram. I enjoy the micro-blogging format and I’ve connected with so many inspiring makers, as well as those just starting out with spinning that I can encourage, mentor and cheer on. It’s overall been a far more positive experience, since I’m not all about selling selling selling. Yes, I realize Instagram is owned by Facebook, however it’s a platform that I can use in a positive way (bonus: less complaining! 😉). I am a maker first: I sell my goods as a connection to others; to spread some good in the world. Do we ever need it now, more than ever! So come join me on Instagram, although you must love cats, since my 3 are such a huge part of my life (and studio life!), particularly Peanut. 😀
Etsy price update: you may see a discrepancy in prices between this site and Etsy. Unfortunately, in order to be seen in searches on Etsy, I need to offer free shipping. This is something I have resisted with yarn because Canada Post is so much more pricey on bulky items, versus the small padded envelopes I use for my jewelry. So I’ve had to add a buffer for shipping into my Etsy listings. It’s still not enough, and depressingly, according to my spreadsheet I am making on average $2-$3 an hour for making yarn. Price is perception, so I have to finesse the price to an amount that I feel will sell, vs. a price that’s fair. It’s a sad and common reality with handmade goods. I’ve thought of vacuum sealing my yarns to make the package flatter as seems to be popular now, but I struggle with the presentation. When you open an order from me, it’s like unwrapping a gift, because I am so appreciative and thankful to all of you who support my work. I want you to be confident about your order and excited from the moment you receive it.
The difference between here and etsy is that, when you spend $45CAD or more here, you can choose the option for free shipping at checkout. I also have discount codes highlighted at checkout, when available. If you are interested on a bulk order either here or in my Etsy shop, I am happy to extend a discount. Simply let me know which items you are interested in, and I’ll work out a price reduction.
Thanks for stopping by for this catch up/update and checking out my work! If there is anything I could assist you in or if you are looking for something specific, please do not hesitate to ask! Come join me on Instagram if you are able. I will try to blog more even if it is short posts here and there.
Always remember to put love over fear: sending love outward to you… <3
Hi there. It’s been awhile! My plans to blog more got thwarted once again. BUT there are exciting things on the horizon: after a summer hiatus of making lots of goodies I’m updating my selling platform to Woo Commerce.
I’ve really loved using Prestashop and support the open source platform purely out of principle, but it is getting harder and harder to keep it up and running. Since I already had this under used WordPress blog, I thought I would give Woo Commerce a shot. I think stream lining my products here will make my life easier in the long run, and let’s face it, I’d rather be creating than spending all my free time doing web maintenance and upgrades #makersgonnamake…
I’ll post updates here as I go, and I’m hoping to delve into blogging more in 2020: maybe even vlogging…! You can still buy the full compliment of my items on bb3.ca. I also have a good chunk of my items on etsy and a few on ebay. I take offers on ebay, so if you are planning on buying more than one item don’t forget to make me an offer – happy to throw a discount your way.
Here in Canada, Canada Post Employees have been involved in a rotating strike since October. At first, this was not a problem: I found that my packages were still being delivered and were only slowed down by a day or two. Canada Post is now stating that the backlog of mail due to these rotating strikes is so large, they don’t see it all getting delivered until sometime in the New Year. Although back to work legislation just passed in the House of Commons, I still doubt disgruntled employees will clear up the backlog in a swift fashion (I certainly do not agree with back to work legislation).
I know I have at least 2 packages to my knowledge held up in the system. Instead of running my usual holiday sale on Etsy, I put my Etsy shop on vacation mode until I could figure out what to do next. On my website, I have disabled shipping with Canada Post until further notice. I have become increasingly frustrated with Canada Post over the past few years, the reasons could be a blog post on its own. Sad considering I have been satisfied with their service for several years prior. I’ve been selling goods off & on online since the early 2000’s.
I’m treating this as an opportunity to do find new carriers to work with. Here are the current shipping options for my personalized handmade jewelry, knitting accessories and handspun yarn:
MARITIME BUS (NS, NB & PEI provinces only)
My husband has picked up orders for computer gear from the Maritime Bus before, and I thought it was a really neat idea. They are continuing the tradition of shipping small packages via the bus much like Acadian Lines did back in the day. I can remember as a child my mom packaging up my dad’s dress shoes or other items he may have forgotten, to ship to Cornwallis where he worked in the summer with cadet camps.
Maritime Bus is an affordable, quick option. Their staff in my experience is really nice & helpful. They run 7 days a week, and you’ll receive your package same day or next day once your package is dropped off (with the exception of inclement weather).
FREIGHT FORWARDING TO BORDER, delivery handled via USPS and UPS (US customers)
This is now my recommended way to deliver packages to the United States. Your package will be driven over the border by a Freight Forwarding company, where it will be then dropped off at USPS or UPS for delivery.
You will always have tracking on your packages, whereas the economical Canada Post Shipping option does not. Since your package will be driven over the border by a bonded carrier, there is less to no customs hold up of packages, and your package will be delivered quickly once it is over the border.
This option is 100 km away for me, thus I can only plan to drop off once a week, or use a local courier company to get it there. Therefore, the perception is that your package takes quite awhile to ship, but in reality, you will receive your package far faster this way than if I were to mail it immediately with Canada Post.
TRADITIONAL COURIER SERVICE (USA & Canada)
Choose a courier such as Purolator, UPS, Fed Ex or CanPar (for Canadian customers). Please note that the prices given on the website are approximate. Because I sell items of varying size and weight, I took an estimate loosely based on shipping quotes to destinations as far West as possible. Should the cost be lower you will not be overcharged.
Courier service tends to be reliable with tracking and faster delivery compared to the mail service.
The cost is astronomical in Canada to ship via courier for small businesses like me that don’t do the volume to qualify for discounts. I wish they would become more competitive with their rates!
FREE SHIPPING OPTION
Don’t forget you can bypass the whole shipping headache by ordering a minimum. Orders $75 or more in Canada ship on me. For US orders, $100 (that’s Canadian dollars – so approx. $75 USD with the current exchange rate).
Don’t forget to use these voucher codes on the website for free shipping:
Use code FREESHIP75 for Canadian orders 75+; The code FREESHIP100 will give you free shipping for US orders over $100
If you are located in Kings County, Nova Scotia, we can arrange pickup at a convenient location or I can possibly deliver to you. I also frequent Hants County and Halifax/Dartmouth/Sackville – if you can wait to receive your order until the next time I’m in the area.
I don’t live in a heavily populated area so I recommend meeting up in town (Canning, Wolfville, New Minas, Kentville, etc).
NO ECONOMICAL OPTION FOR REST OF CANADA
Unfortunately, I have not found an economical shipping option for outside the Maritime provinces for small orders. I would suggest taking advantage of free shipping with a minimum order (above). I’m hoping that this will change in the near future as more carriers see the growing need for competitive reliable shipping in Canada.
These shipping options are available on my website and will continue to be available once the strike and its backlog is over. I haven’t decided if I will re-open my Etsy shop before the New Year. Currently, I am informing Etsy shoppers to go to my website if they want to order anything before the holidays.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at selling handmade online: this is a screenshot of the many products that I have made and yet to list. Some of these items have been around for over a year. The problem is this: I love to make things and I would spend my entire lifetime doing just that. Taking the time to get items ready for sale and listed, not so much. I wish it were as simple as: I make something, I take a picture of it, and magically customers come along and buy it. Not so. When you are an artist/maker of any kind – in charge of selling your work – you wear many hats/learn many talents to make that sale. We don’t have a MLM company to back us with promotional kits on the ready to help promote our goods. I’ve considered hiring outside help but any kind of PR I’ve researched was too out of reach for me cost wise. When you think about the price that we have to charge to be competitive with the mass-produced, selling handmade online is a losing battle.
Let’s look at the anatomy of a (handmade) listing, shall we?
Conceptualizing and designing the idea
Although my items have evolved into simple keepsake designs over the years, there is still more to it than pairing charms on a necklace. Everything I make is something I would wear. When I am inspired by a theme I then have to choose: will it be sterling silver or gold-filled or both? What size engraving blank should I pair with the charm? What font should I use? I have to then engrave the prototypes, and assemble a sample so that I can assess wearability and aesthetics. Do the charms look good together? Do they hang well together? Is there movement/flow? Should I add a bead? Or add/remove another element?
This is another reason why I normally turn down custom orders these days. Not the personalization I offer, but built-from-scratch requests. All the time that is put into conceptualizing the design would be out of reach price wise for the customer. Add to it that the majority of the time changes or tweaks are asked for, or interest is lost entirely and the piece is never purchased. For these reasons custom orders are simply not worth the time involved for me. Before I had kids I was more willing to donate my time for custom work, but these days time is a precious commodity. Of the requests that I do take, it is because I already have something in mind that has not yet left the design notebook. In this instance if the potential customer changes their mind I can still sell it as a new product. Bottom line is I have to be mindful of the time taken to develop a custom piece and the compensation involved, all the while staying true to my aesthetic and personal style. And goodness no – I will not copy someone else’s work…
Photographing the new design
I wish I was talented enough to get a few good shots of my products in just a few minutes, but the truth is, it takes quite a bit of time and patience to get a good shot. I have to set up the camera on the tripod, after I put on the macro lens. Then turn on/position the lighting. It has a dedicated spot in the studio but it always gets knocked out-of-place between cats and kids. Plus natural light will determine which direction the lights will be. Placing the item within the lighting so that it stays at the right position is also tricky. It is very tedious to set up a piece of jewelry and have it stay in place without falling over in an unattractive position. Sometimes I can use a bit of sticky tack to help keep charms in place. But for the most part, I like a natural drape over an object such as a smooth stone. Once I get the item positioned, I have to carefully move it ever so slightly left and right to get the lighting angle in the “sweet” spot: not so much light that it drowns out the engraving, and not so little that it appears dark which is also hard to see. When I find the sweet spot I will snap several pictures. I do have the added bonus of computer software so I can sharpen focus directly onto the computer before taking the pictures. Once I get several shots in one position I will try at least one more, plus a hand shot for scale. The hand shot turns me into a contortion artist while I get my hand in frame, focus the shot via computer with other hand, then hold still enough to take the picture. I would say the photography aspect is my least favorite thing to do. I procrastinate on it a lot. Like, until the “take photos of these new items” bin is over-flowing. Part of the reason is that photography is the most frustrating. You can take a ton of shots only to discard every single one when reviewed later. I have logged hundreds of hours over the years with different cameras, tried all kinds of set up and contraptions and watched many videos/read many blogs and I still think my pictures are acceptable for selling on the internet, but they aren’t stellar. I did purchase a short online course many years ago that I found the most helpful. But what works for me is based on putting in the time. There is no shortcut.
Photo editing can take even more time than taking the pictures. I don’t do any color correcting – just some brightening if the photo is too dark and cropping the photo square. The goal is to have a crisp and clear photo. Different resolutions on devices will have the items looking slightly different color and tone wise anyway. I don’t want to misrepresent what I am selling so I do very little touching up. I’m told my items look even better in person – and that always makes me feel really good. The pictures are attractive enough to make the sale and people are happy with their purchase, rather than disappointed. That is a good thing!
As time-consuming as editing is, I enjoy the process. Seeing my work on-screen is where it comes alive for the potential customer. I love choosing the final images and it is only discouraging when none of the images turned out to be viable for the web (it means I have to repeat the picture-taking step – WAH!).
Finally, I do watermark my photos with my website for copyright and recognition purposes. I know this is sometimes frowned upon for many different reasons: like it’s distracting, or Etsy doesn’t feature watermarked images…however I have witnessed photos being stolen and misrepresented as others’ work by scam artists over the years. Plus photos often get shared on different social network platforms without context as to where it came from.
Another daunting task that I don’t enjoy is pricing my work. In the beginning I would eye ball the piece and price it from the top of my head – which meant that I was rapidly losing money: not covering even my expenses to make the piece. So I soon moved to spreadsheets to price my work. I have a master spreadsheet with the cost of supplies: I price out to every last jump ring and component. Then I have spreadsheets for the items themselves: one for the keepsakes, and one for yarn as they are very different in pricing structure. This is where I add my costs for my time, packaging, and listing fees. The sad truth is I don’t make very much an hour. I honestly don’t mark up my work very much – and for this reason it’s hard for me to have sales or discounts. When I do run a sale, I am losing money at least on my time. I end up writing sales off as advertising (as well as giveaways).
So why don’t I mark my items up more? The market is solely dictated on the buyers and I have to go with what people are willing to pay. I’ve tried pricing my goods higher and they simply don’t move. Plus I’ve always had the philosophy that everyone deserves to own something nice and well made. I get it, money isn’t always there for the extras. I want my work to be accessible to as many people as possible as it is an expression of me from the heart. The many positive comments I have had over the years is a feeling that money could never buy. Yes I have expenses and bills like anyone else. But I do feel the handmade movement is far bigger than that. Sure I’d love to make more money at what I do, but I’d also like the cost of living to go down for everyone, too…
It never ceases to amaze me the misconception of how expensive handmade goods are or that they are not as good as the mass-produced products that have flashy ads or brand names to go along with them. Oh and if you are getting a lot of free stuff along with your purchase – or for signing others up – don’t think for one second you haven’t paid for it several times over in the markup.
Listing items online
I currently list items on two places online: my personal website and Etsy. I’ve sold on other platforms before but it’s too time consuming for the handful of sales, so I’ve stuck to the two places that I get the most bang for my buck.
I’m quite fortunate to have a software engineer for a husband as well as being a tad geeky myself so a lot of things I can take care of on my own on the front end and all the technical stuff hubby can deal with on the backend. For sellers who constantly complain about Etsy: please stop. Listen, I am not always happy with everything they do over there nor do I agree with every decision that has been made in the evolution of this company. However, once you try to maintain your own website – you come to appreciate that you just have to pay the fees every month and the technical issues are someone’s else’s problem.
Listing items online means writing a decent copy description of the item, making sure it is placed under the right category on your website, uploading the pictures, setting the shipping costs, and doing SEO for each individual item. Nevermind the hours of setup it took beforehand to have a working site – and we use out-of-the-box software to power my website. I am fortunate enough to host my own site thanks to my partner’s business…sort of. By that I mean, don’t forget I have to babysit the site daily to make sure it doesn’t go down due to hosting issues, getting hacked, or the myriad of other issues that can happen that render it useless: like your payment gateway failing or a file corrupting. As for SEO, I admit that I find SEO tedious and it falls to the wayside a lot – and I instead rely on Social Networking for promoting my items and getting them out there. Once again, I appreciate paying Etsy to do my advertising for me. I have a very small budget to promote my listings but there is always a return for doing so.
Touching a bit of this in the previous section – promotion is a full-time job in and of itself, something that I just don’t have the stomach for – I admit it. The online pond is very big and you have to scream really loud to get noticed: I’m not so good at selling what I’m selling. I don’t mind sharing and showing what I make, but doing so over and over feels egotistical to me. I am not doing anything life saving here; it’s pretty things. It’s fun yarn and accessories for knitting. None of which is necessary to survive. I also rarely discuss what I do with my friends and family because I don’t want them to feel obligated to support my work. I get it, it’s not to everyone’s taste. I don’t want people to feel like I look at them with dollar signs in my eyes. It is such a good feeling however, to tap into that crowd that loves and gets what I do. Etsy has been wonderful for that. And I appreciate all the good feedback I’ve gotten over the years there. If I ever doubt my talent or abilities, I can read that feedback and know I make good things and provide a positive experience to others.
Keeping items fresh & relevant
I used to make beaded jewelry – and I still do, I just find the simple wearable keepsakes translate as “in style” for a longer period of time. The time it takes to design and make beaded jewelry, plus the uniqueness of the designs means more effort to move the finished product. I like to stick with daily wearable pieces, like my ” wings” necklace that I wear everyday.
So if it is so hard why do it then?
It’s a drive to keep going that I can’t really explain. A passion for handmade and what I create. Wanting to get my items part of people’s online shopping experience: offering them an alternative to the norm. I do it because it makes my customers feel good, and therefore it makes me feel good. It’s my pay-it-forward. But mainly I do it because I have a drive to create like nobody’s business. It truly does keep me alive and sane, and if I want to keep creating, I have to move the things as they pile up. 🙂
I recognize that when I get resentful or feel stuck & anxious about it, it’s when all my time is spent online rather than making the things I love to make. The ideas run wild in my head and there is no outlet to get them out because I feel I must be responsible and do my social networking today, or list new items today. Once an item sells, most of the time I have to make the item with the customer’s personalization, then package and ship it. So if all my time is in doing just that and no new ideas are flowing, I feel stuck really fast.
I’ve just come to realize it’s about creating balance and even after 16 years at this, I haven’t struck the right chord. I tend to go from one extreme to the next. Now that I have made that revelation, I hopefully will find some motivation to list. Because there are some goodies in this folder that I’d love to get into people’s hands. It makes me happy that I get to share my talents with others.
If you stuck it out and read all this (thank you!) I hope you gain some insight on the behind-the-scenes of the handmade goods you buy online. If you sell or are looking to sell your handmade wares know I feel your pain, and I am here to support, if ever you need…
I’m having a huge work block lately – I’m totally unmotivated to do the heavy lifting as far as listing and promoting my handmade items. I’m currently writing an extensive blog post about it – The Anatomy of a (handmade) Listing – that is rather involved and detailed so my brain can only write it in small bits at a time (I’ll link to it here when it is finished). I’ve been really busy making things with no real desire to list them – which, defeats the purpose of selling my handmade goods online. I feel like I need to get the details out in words so that I can move past my block and get things listed. As far as the deadline I gave myself for new items for the holiday season, well, I am really behind…
Luckily, I still have orders for jewelry and paying requests for yarn to keep me busy until the motivation returns.
In the meantime, I wanted to mention that I have been taking Instagram out for a test drive and I really like it! I have been meaning to check it out for some time but feared I lacked the time for it. Finally giving in to a smart phone a couple of years ago certainly makes posting pics online easier. I love seeing life in pictures – so if you are on IG please follow me: I need people to follow, too! The content is much different from what you would find on my Facebook page or even Twitter (although a bit of overlap is inevitable). It’s a behind the scenes glimpse of my creative life: and my cats with a few appearances of my kids (the cat thing, was supposed to be temporary while I tried out how the app worked – who knew people liked seeing pics of cats. So. The cats stay… 😉 ).
I have talked at length about the fact that most of my yarn is made from the ground up. The only thing I do not own (yet anyway) is the sheep, rabbits, goats or alpaca the fiber comes from. That’s not to say that I can pass up a nice looking roving at the Fiber festival – but I do spend the majority of my time at the Fleece sale. My main motivation in the beginning was to save money. Now, it’s mainly because I enjoy it. I love taking dirty fleece, washing it (sometimes even skirting it before hand to get rid of the poo!), carding/combing it – then dyeing it into gorgeous colors to then be blended into batts to be spun into yarn. I also enjoy meeting small producers and getting to know them, their flock, and where my fiber is coming from: something you can’t do at the yarn or craft store.
This past month I have been washing some merino fleece – from Maine – from Rivercroft farm in Starks. If you are an Easterner & spin you may know Joe & Judy Miller: I love chatting with them at the New Hampshire show, which I sadly missed this year due to a relocation. This lot was from last year’s show. I am embarrassed to say it sat around that long and some of that time in storage in fact. But that is what happens when you embark on home renos and then a move. Last year was a dud for me, as far as fleece prep is concerned.
Thankfully, these bags were already skirted – so no poo for me to remove. 🙂 I am a fleece rescuer – I drift towards the more inexpensive bags of fleece that most hand processors pass up. I see the potential in every bag. Unless it is totally full of VM (vegetable matter) or has signs of lice or fleece rot, I’m in (and I have bought duds of fleece before – live and learn). It just takes a little more elbow grease, and a little more patience.
For fleece this dirty I just reach for my bottle of Dawn dish detergent. If we were talking good quality locks or award winning fleece, I would reach for the Unicorn Power Scour or Namaste Farms Wash & Dye Bastard. But for this quality, I find Dawn works just fine. I start to fill the sink up with hot water, and while it’s filling I will place pieces of fleece to float on top. Once the top is covered, I squeeze on a bit of Dawn in a zig-zag pattern, then add another layer of fleece. Squeeze on the Dawn, and so on – until I have enough in the sink that I feel is comfortable to clean – usually about half the size of the sink. It’s fleece & soap lasagna! At this point I gently start pressing the fleece down into the water, and let soak for approximately 3 hours. This soak happens 3 times, only on the third time, I do not add soap but about a quarter of a cup of vinegar to the hot water to remove the soap residue. I usually will flip the fleece between on the 2nd and 3rd soak. If it mildly felts I don’t worry about it too much as it will be carded and then combed.
The difference in color is quite dramatic. I didn’t even realize just how yellow the unwashed fleece was until I saw it washed. Gets pretty darn white, if I don’t say so myself!
The washed fleece is run through a salad spinner to get out the excess water, then out to my deck to dry in the North Mountain air. It can get very windy here, and after chasing drying fleece all over the lawn, I have learned to put a cover on it. These racks are from a store that closed a few years ago (Zellers – for all the Canadians reading along). I would eventually like a set up so that the air can circulate both top and bottom, but for now I just flip the fleece after drying on one side for awhile – and this has worked well.
I’ve already started carding this into batts to then be dyed – and then combed into top. This is by no means a quick process but it certainly is satisfying, especially when a one of a kind skein of yarn is created.
I’ve taken over our diningroom here in our little vacation home in Nova Scotia. It serves as a makeshift studio space for me when I’m in town. When we want to do sit down lessons, the girls will also do “schoolwork” here. It is a high traffic area in this home and prone to clutter. Creating tends to lead one into the direction of a…creative mess, but I cannot work in an area prone to chaos. The energy simply doesn’t flow. If the energy gets stuck my ideas feel stuck too.
Which brings me to my early New Year’s organizing today. I had originally set up binders with business card/baseball card inserts to hold my supplies (as shown above). Tiny ziplock bags organize all the components necessary to make one item from the website. I usually have on hand at least 3 of these pre-pulled supplies per item. I try to aim for 6, if not 12 for very popular items. Efficiency is very important. It is the main reason why I can keep my prices so affordable. If you can imagine, it takes less time to pull the supplies needed for 6 necklaces at once than to pull them one at a time after each order. Having the supplies pre-pulled means they are ready for assembly and engraving at time of order. It is also the secret as to why I usually can turn around an order in 24 hours, and is handy for travelling when you are working out of more than one location.
I am finding though, as my product base grows I am becoming more and more frustrated with the binder setup. It is easy for things to become misplaced, particularly since the binders are becoming so full. Most of the time the item I am looking for is staring me right in the face in a sea of supplies that all look the same. The fuller the binders are also means spillage, and more misplacing of products that are located…somewhere in there. Not being able to find what I need will send me into a feeling of panic, and I usually enjoy what I do. But not when I am stressed out unable to find something, or taking more time than usual and my family is waiting on me to get done.
After scouring the internet, including jewelry suppliers and wholesalers with somewhat pricey solutions, I found the most affordable option today at Canadian Tire:
It’s a small parts cabinet with 60 drawers. I got two for $39 each! They are lightweight, stackable and can even be mounted to the wall, which is great when space is at a premium. With my handy Dymo label maker everything is clearly and neatly labeled. This is going to make me really efficient; so much so that it’s time to reassess and adjust the pricing on some of my items…lower. 🙂
This up-coming weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. So the studio will be closed for the long weekend. I will be unavailable to make orders from October 9th to October 13th, 2015. Orders should commence no later than October 14th. You may still order via the website but expect a delay in the shipping of your order. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Je ne suis pas disponible pour rendre des commandes d’octobre 9 – 13. Les articles seront expédiées par le 14 octobre. Contactez-moi si vous avez des questions.