Sunday, April 12, 2015

Catching Up and Changing Direction (Yet Again)

Wow, I can't believe it's been since Christmas that I last posted!  I guess I have been otherwise occupied.  Family obligations have taken up a lot of my time and focus in the last few months.  My dad passed away in November, and though he didn't want a service, I took my kids to the other side of the country over spring break to visit my step-mom and other family members, sort through photos and other things of my dad's, and spread his ashes in the mountains.  It has been a different, and sometimes difficult, time, and has definitely affected the time I am able to spend on crafting and my Etsy and other craft businesses.

Lately, I have had to reassess my commitments and make some decisions about them, because I have been feeling spread very thin.  I did not do the Jane Austen Faire this year for this reason, and am kind of scrambling to fulfill other commitments.  So, I have made the difficult decision to give up my booth at Top Drawer Upscale Resale and Boutique, as much as I have loved having it.   I am not leaving Top Drawer altogether though- I will be keeping my card rack there, which will only cost me half of what my booth fee has cost.  I have found that I have been spending way more time and effort on the "supplemental" things in my booth than I have on cards, which were the main things I wanted to sell there.  In fact, they are my best selling items there, so removing my focus from them has been a disadvantage all this time.  Making this decision has been very freeing- I feel better than I have in months, because I do not have all the pressure that I have been putting on myself any longer.  I have really enjoyed refinishing furniture and making the other items that I have done, but I simply do not have the time for everything at this stage of my life.  Maybe in a couple of decades when I don't have to work full time and have 2 teenagers to raise/guide!

SO...I am in the process of clearing out my garage of the furniture I had stockpiled to refinish.  I have gotten rid of a number of items already, and it feels great!  That's how I know that I have made the right decision.  In the meantime, I have been working on some new cards, for my card rack at Top Drawer, as well as in preparation of the Salem Etsy Team Spring Sale, which is scheduled for May 2nd.  I don't have much made yet, but hope to crank out lots of Mother's Day cards in the next couple of weeks.  Also, my daughter is still raising money for her choir trip next month, so will be making some items to sell there.  She'll be making some seeded gift tags (gift tags with flower seeds that can be planted to grow flowers), bird seed cakes in fun shapes that can be hung from trees, and pretty clothes pin magnets.  All of the proceeds from those items will go toward her trip to Seattle, which is coming up quickly!!

I have learned a lot in the last few months, not the least of which is what my personal limits are.  There may be things that I want to do, but those must be balanced with what I *need* to do.  It is a delicate balance, and as every working mom knows, is a moving target- no 2 weeks are exactly the same.  While I am sad to have to give up some things for the time being, I feel really good about moving forward in a way that will not create so much pressure on me, and I can enjoy my craft again.  My graduation exploding boxes are currently, well, exploding!  I have already done more orders so far this year than I did all of last year, and the momentum seems to keep building!  It is nice to once again focus on my Etsy shop, since I have had little time for it since having my booth at Top Drawer.  Hopefully the decisions I've made to scale back will benefit every area of my life and business(es).  I will be able to focus on what sells the best at Top Drawer, which is the cards, and my most popular product on Etsy, the exploding box cards.  And not go crazy in the process- it's a win-win!!  I am excited that I have been able to reduce a lot of my physical labor on the exploding box cards by using the Silhouette Cameo, and look forward to making more efficiency changes in the near future.

So- onward! :)