Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life Gets Crazy Sometimes

Hey my beautiful bloggy friends! I haven't forgot about you. This week was just more horrific "exciting" than I expected. I'll be back tomorrow to summarize for you. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First Day at School

Tomorrow is my first day of school. I'm feeling pretty nervous.
Where do I go?
What if people don't like me?
How I am going to survive 6 hours of French a day?
Is there going to be a microwave? I like hot lunches.

To be continued.............

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Have A New Business Name I Adore

I am the kind of person that when something is bothering me I have to fix it RIGHT NOW. I spent the whole day fretting. I had spent over 10 years with my previous business name. It was like a part of me. I like everything in perfect order so to find out I couldn't use my name of choice was heartbreaking.

I started to really think about it. Did I really love my name and logo THAT much? Could I find a name I liked better. Something more fresh? More me? That's when I started considering going with another name. Every other time I'd tried to come up with names it took months of thinking and hum hawing.

So I turned to my sister. We worked together, picked something suitable out but it was taken also. Dagnabbit! I was feeling hopeless all day. Jotting down names. Harassing my brother, sister and dear friend Nathaniel about how horrible the Etsy name game was. Just overall miserable.

Then a name hit me. BOOM. I loved it. Now some people were advising me to go with something descriptive and that let people know what I'm doing. For example : Ashley's Accessories. While that is perfectly fine I felt that if I was going to shake things up I really wanted to give it some sauce.

I searched my new name and didn't find a single thing linked to it. After a full day of searching this was a first. I needed somebody to give me the push. That little bit of confidence that I was headed the right way. So I'm pm'd Laura because I knew she'd understand me. She instantly gave me the exact response I needed.

I clicked onto the Etsy site.. inputted the name and it was mine. Hallelujah!

I happy danced all over the place. I found a name that I truly adore. It's fun, funky and best of all it's mine.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to have found it. I feel like this was all meant to happen and now I'm super excited. Crap day turned into pure AWESOMENESS!!

Thanks again Laura!!

I can't announce the name yet though. Now that I have it I'm going to scurry around like a nut crazed squirrel securing everything I can under that name. Woohoo!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Etsy Heartbreak

So my business name is taken on Etsy. It's one I had registered 10 years ago and is still under my name in BC. I have logo's and everything prepared under that name that include the initials as the overall design. I had done searches on Etsy for it but nothing came up. Today I went to set up shop and it said the name was taken. I did a google search and there it was. A graphic design company is using it on Etsy. I am so sad. I feel like I'm in mourning.
I'm totally distraught. I talked it over with my sister who has also had many businesses in the past and has gone through similar experiences. She basically told me it sucks but I have to embrace it and move on. I tried shortening the name.. adding an "s"... Etsy says no.
Boourns... what do I do? It's so personal to me. Ugh

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fun Mail - Book Hooks

picture from Etsy listing
I just love when I get fun stuff in the mail. I ordered these "book hooks" from Etsy a week ago and they are already here. When I walked down to the mail boxes I was so excited to see them waiting for me.

Oh the possibilities!!! I can't wait to add my own zest to them.

I already tried testing one out in the book I'm currently reading. It's perfect! I've had others that were too heavy or to awkward to fit correctly and would just fall out all the time. I'm going to bring one along on my errands today and see how it holds up. I just hate loosing my place when I'm reading. Lately I've been using a Halls wrapper, lol.

So this is another product I'll be offering in my store. Once I have a couple done I'll sneak peak one here. I've already sourced some at a cheaper price online now that I've decided I love them.

I'm excited to try something new. The other day I did about 17 pairs of earrings. It's nice to switch things up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Source Of My Irritation

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this but something very sad happened about a month ago. The senior woman above us passed away. :( She was a sweet old lady who loved seeing my kitties outside. I would always hear her talking to them outside when she thought I couldn't hear her. Of course it was in French so I didn't understand but BF always assured me it was adorable conversation. I would always see her popping out on errands with her cute grin always on display.

Her passing wasn't just sad, it was heartbreaking. It turns out that she had some debts so her family couldn't afford to lay claim to her estate. They were permitted to come and remove a few personal possessions but the majority of her things and her vehicle are being held for auction to pay debts. Horrible right? Well guess who had to take care of all these things? BF's parents who own the building. They had to wait until the end of December and then pack and store everything for the government. Yeesh.

Since they were leaving for a 3 month stay in the US at the beginning of January they had to find a tenant quickly or leave the apartment empty until they got back. This building has 4 units and the one that was hers is located between us. BF's parents above and us below. They promised they were advertising for a non-smoking retired person or mature couple with no pets.

Welp... that didn't happen. There is now a woman with 2 kids and declawed (ugh) cat above us. It has been HORRIBLE!!! This woman sounds like she is wearing wooden clogs as she bangs around. The noise from the kids running around is constant. It's so bad that when we were at the inlaws the noise was almost as bad and they are ABOVE her. They promised to call her when they arrived at their destination and let her know it was beyond excessive. I've had horrible headaches and it's made us both irritable at times.

Something funny happened though.. I think she must have joint custody though because the last 2 or 3 days the kids have not been around. So we've only been dealing with the noise of the woman herself. It's made me really miss the sweet senior woman who lived there before.

So this has had BF and I talking more seriously about our living situation. More about our plan later....

Setting Goals For My Small Business

So I'm just over 3 months away from launching my Etsy shop. Thank you for your awesome comments lately on all my little creations. It definitely helps me feel more confident that I am on the right path. I'm slowly coming to realization that I'm finally really going to make a go at having my own business. I've wanted this for so long and am excited for what the future holds.

I've been preparing my work space, ordering supplies, and trying to get feedback on a few things. So far things seem to be working out pretty good for me. I would like to set up a space in our bedroom away from the playful kitties where I can work without distraction and fear of little paws batting at my projects.

I had originally thought I would open on Facebook at first. Gain some fans and then move on to Etsy. Then I realized that's not the path I want to take. I've been observing other people and it seems its hard to get their customers to make the move with them. I see how much work it is for them to be offering their products for sale on FB. I like the more streamline approach to Etsy. Yes, there are fees but the customers are more serious about purchasing and all transactions are tracked and stored for you. It will take a weight off my shoulders having that info available to me at all times.

I have been reading up on Etsy strategies and success stories. Trying to figure out how everything works so I can give it a good go right from the start. I've already learned so much from reading about other peoples experiences. I enjoy the community feel of the website. I remember my brother recommending Etsy to me as a selling tool probably 8 years or so ago but I never grabbed the reins and went for it.

With my dream soon becoming a reality it's time to sit down and write out goals. I need to keep focused on what I want to achieve with my business. I need to sort out how I want to attract and keep customers. I have to decide on what products I'm going to release at the launch and what I plan to add in to the mix down the road to keep things interesting for both my customers and myself. I have to figure out what creates a great customer experience. I need a timeline for my goals and a plan for how I'm going to do this around going to school full time starting next Monday.

There is just so much rattling around in my mind right now. It's hard to put it all into one post. That's why I've decided I need to sit down and write things out. I will make lists of things that I need to have ready before the launch. I will write out short and long term goals for my business. I will do all these things with a smile on my face because this is what I have wanted for so long. Intimidating but thrilling at the same time.

Any thoughts or advice you would like to offer?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sneaky Peek

I promised awhile back to do a little sneaky peek from the store. I made these in December for a work related party for BF. Earrings with a matching bracelet. Thoughts?

The earrings are a combo of white river shell with hematite and copper on sterling silver hooks. The bracelet is a hematite/copper deal with a magnet clasp (not pictured).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cleaning My Act Up

 Today was the day I conquered the craft cupboard. It was becoming a dumping ground for all things crafty and possibly a few other miscellaneous items. It's been bothering me for a while so I decided to grit my teeth and get in there.

There are still a few things to sort through. I'd like to divide up my beads from my tools and wires. Things like that. There is also a little wicker basket and that grey bag that need sorting. I might leave the grey bag as a catch all for mystery items though. Everyone needs a little messy spot.

So this weekend it looks like I'll need to head over to Canadian Tire to buy another 10 set of those awesome see through bins you see in the "after" picture. I think I paid $10 for the set. BF will love an excuse to hit up his favorite store of all time. These bins are perfect as I can easily find what I'm looking for without having to open them all up and peek inside.

I put all my paper, shipping and general office type supplies up top. I also kept a binder to keep all my supplier and customer orders organized. There's also a little spot for supply receipts.

The second shelf holds all my rice writing supplies and my beading things. I'll be happier with this shelf once I get those beads all sorted out. That way I'll be able to track what I have better. Clutter and excess is not good for my creative mind.

The third shelf houses my sewing supplies (fabrics, pins, patterns, etc), wool, and the bottom bin in the middle is a few random craft ideas that may come into play later on. Oh, I also have a bin there with my bottle cap magnet supplies. The sketchy grey bag and curious wicker basket are tucked along side.

The last shelf is for all my display pieces and my sewing machine. The towel wrapped piece is a thick hard sheet of metal  I used to work with on hammering my sterling wire. Haven't done that in ages.

So there you have it. I have a few orders coming in the next few weeks of things I bought from suppliers to get me on my merry way to creating stock for my shop opening late April. I feel ready to get to work now. One more step in the direction of having my own little business set up. It will be a dream come true.

Friday, January 11, 2013

School Start Date Is FINALLY Official

Earlier this week I called the school to find out where I was on the waiting list. I was happy to find out that 4 spots had opened up and I was 4th on the list. The woman in charge of the French division said she would hassle the women in charge of setting up paperwork and contacting people to hurry up and call me.

Well today she called and talked to BF. I start January 21st. It seems so soon! I've been waiting since August and now it's finally happening. I'm a little peeved they didn't give more notice as I have to pay fees and do a lot of paperwork before next Friday. My MIL leaves today for vacation so I don't have anyone to help me get to different appointments so it's super inconvenient. If they had called even a few days earlier it would have been fine. It seems the administration at this school are a little unorganized.

I guess I'll be shopping for school supplies and maybe even a back pack this weekend. So strange to be going back to school after all these years. I finished my Pharmacy diploma Jan 2004. High School in 2000. It will definitely be a little weird at first.

I need to fix my sleep schedule. Since I have no responsibilities lately I stay up super late and sleep in every day. I'll have to try and slowly adjust this over the next week so I'm not sleepy all day. 8 hours of French every week day.... hmm. Yeah, better get that sleep, lol.

So I guess I'm going back to school. Finally I'll be able to communicate with people here. *sigh*

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Savings Update

It's been awhile since I've posted anything about my savings goals. Welp I'm pretty excited today because my overall savings accounts have just hit the $4000 mark in total. This is a huge leap from where I was just a few months back.

One very exciting part of this is that exactly half of this is in my account earmarked for purchasing our first home. Depending on what type of property we are going to buy we will need to either save $10,000 each or $20,000. So I suppose I should set my goal right in the middle at $15,000. Very exciting!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ice Fishing

Every year BF's siblings get together and give a a group gift to his parents. Something fun. This year they decided on ice fishing for the whole family. It worked out well because about a week go BF's father mentioned he would like to do that some time. He had no idea we already had it all planned because all the card mentioned was a "surprise" coming their way on a particular day. 

It was my first time ice fishing and I actually quite enjoyed myself. I would go again but without kids. It seemed the fishing was a lot better when there wasn't 4 pairs of little boots stomping around, lol. Speaking of boots. I bought my first pair since I was a child two months back to prepare for winter. Finding shoes in general is hard for me because my feet are oddly shaped. These guys were comfy so I bought them up at a great price. My toes were FREEZING part way through the day and never seemed to warm up. At one point I took them off and toasted my little piggies by the wood stove. Is that normal?

We started the morning off with breakfast at a restaurant the whole family seemed to be excited about and seemed to be familiar with. BF's Mom was super thrilled. Then we made our way to the river for ice fishing. BF made some excuse about having to use the toilet so we pulled off the road and down onto the river. Boom, we were there. 

Sorry for the lack of photos. I didn't take very many and most had people in them. I am only posting the one of my nephews waiting for fish because their faces are mostly covered. 

 Under the bridge in the Ice Shanty Town. I think BF said there's at least 100 where we were.
 Waiting for the fish to bite! We actually did pretty good. They are a quite small fish though.
 Hooks waiting to be baited. They were all the way along one wall.
 Our little shanty. I believe it was $25 per person which is a good price I think for a group activity.

The only thing that annoyed me was twice during our time there people selling things came into our shanty and started to bug us. I really felt it was annoying and it put a damper on what was happening inside. At one point there was also some weird looking guys going around outside checking out other peoples fish and carrying bags with them. I saw them take a bunch of fish from one cabin. Then they headed to ours. I saw them peeking in the window and I gave them the stink eye, lol. Finally they went away.

Besides the few weirdos and freezing toes I was quite happy with the overall experience. BF's parents and family seemed to enjoy it. We had two injuries though where people slipped on the ice and bumped their heads. Ouch :(

I would go back next year with BF and maybe do a couples weekend or something. I think it would be fun to try again.

Have you ever been ice fishing before?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Down With The Sickness

I am so sick AGAIN!!! In my family if you are sick you stay away from family events. This seems to not be the case for BF's family. I haven't been this sick in many moons. My throat is absolutely horrifically painful. I missed New Years but BF was sweet and arrived home just before the stroke of midnight. I've been pegged inside but am feeling too gross to do anything except read and watch movies. Last night was cheap night at the movies so BF talked me into going to see The Hobbit because he knows how badly I was to see it. More on that later. For now I'm going to lay back down and sleep my way to health.