Goals, and why they’re important

I met my March goals for my shop. My goal was to have 50 listings up by the end of the month, and even while making 6 sales (my biggest sales month so far, since opening in December), I ended up with 52. I was fairly proud of myself, but really this whole Etsy thing is still more of a hobby than a source of income for me. So why even make a goal? Why is this goal thing so important, if I’m doing this more for fun and the occasional money it brings in?

So I’ve started reading other blogs on this topic. In my experience, Everything Etsy is a great resource for, well, everything etsy. I happened upon this article, which describes the goal setting process more than it’s importance. But I did get a few key things from it.

First, don’t set unattainable goals. I’m not going to quit either of my day jobs when my shop is still in it’s developement stage, which it is right now. I need a steady source of income while I’m working out the kinks and figuring out what works for me, and that means working at least part time. I’m lucky in that I have that option, and I plan to take advantage of it for as long as I can.

Second, meeting goals will give me a sense of accomplishment. Well, I’m not really looking for a warm and fuzzy feeling, but alright. Some day I may need that sense of accomplishment; when no one has bought anything from my shop in a week, when I’ve run out of new ideas, or just when I need a reason to keep going with it.

So, with those two things in mind, my March goal was a good one. It was attainable, and it made me feel good about my business. But what the heck should my April goal be?

In my head I’m thinking of my weight loss goals. I want to be down 25 pounds by the end of June. In my mind, that’s an attainable goal, but I hadn’t taken into account that I’ve lost my thyroid since the last time I was on weight watchers. I’ve been doing this for almost a month, and I’ve only lost 5 pounds. I’ve got three months left, which would mean I’d have to lose 6.25 pounds a month to reach my goal. That doesn’t seem horrible when you break it down like that. I need to lose 1.25 pounds this week to keep up with my goal. So there, that’s attainable, even without a thyroid I think. Will I feel accomplished once I’ve lost 25 pounds? You betcha. If we are just looking at how it will make me feel and whether or not it’s a realistic goal, the weight loss one falls into the good goal category.

Apply that to my shop. What would make me feel like my shop was growing? Well, doubling my sales from March would certainly make me feel like what I was doing was working. That only means 12 sales, so I think that’s pretty realistic. I’d have to make three sales a week. We are in week one of April and I’ve already sold something, so two more before Saturday and I’d meet my weekly goal. I’d also like to make a listing goal to make sure I stay on track with all of this, so let’s say I want to get to 75 listings. I have 56 now, on April 4th, so that’s 19 listings in 26 days. If you factor in the number of sales I’d like to make, it goes up to 30 listings. That’s a lot, and a lot of work for someone who works two day jobs, but I think I can do it. Yesterday I made another green tea tote, in addition to finishing the pair of yoga socks I was working on. I don’t want to make a whole bunch of small stuff and just say, “there, I met my goal”, but if I can conquer my irrational fear of these marble magnets, I can get to 30 new listings before the end of the month no problem.

Let’s recap. Goals are good. They make you feel accomplished, and are a necessary part of running a small business. But they need to be realistic or they’ll make me feel worse instead of better. And for me at least, they need to be broken down into managable mini-goals, or they will seem overwhelming and I’ll give up before I even have a chance to see them through.

So there we have it. I’ve set goals, they will make me feel good if I achieve them, they’re realistic, and they’re broken down. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to accomplish my goals for April, and we’ll be all set. What are your goals for the month and how do you plan to complete them?


Manic mondaaaaaay

Be prepared. I’m in a very random, slightly goofy mood this morning. So this post will be very random and slightly goofy, starting with the following…

I honestly can’t decide if this is a real song or a joke, but I think I like it. It makes me smile, and what could be better on a Monday morning? It may not be safe for work, so make sure to put a set of headphones on or something before you hit play. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I won't maul you if you take too long

Ok, done? It’s goofy, right? Alright, since we’re in a good mood now, because how could you not be, onward!

Shop stuff:
I must have done something right when I took all those new pictures, because I sold my very first tea tote last night. Again, I had just listed it, went to bed, and woke up this morning to find it had sold not even an hour after I listed it. Craziness! So I’ll take that as a good sign, and make more of these things. I love making them; it’s almost instant gratification, unlike the socks which take days.

Weight loss:
I lost 3 more pounds this week, bring me to a total of 5 pounds in 3 weeks. Not bad. I will give total credit to weight watchers, but it may have something to do with taking my pills everyday. I mean, without a functioning thyroid, I don’t really have a metabolism. As it is my metabolism is of the fake variety, but it’s a lot better than no metabolism at all. But I’ll still give the credit to weight watchers, because if I don’t, I won’t have any reason to continue with it. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but I never claimed to make sense all the time.

And speaking of weight loss, after this diet is done, I am so making these cupcakes:

I found them over at A Cookie-Cutter Blog, and they look DELICIOUS (you know I’m serious when I type in all caps and italics). Her instructions look super easy to follow too, though I think I’d skip the sprinkles. I’m not really much of a sprinkle type of girl. Weird crunch, no real flavor… no thanks.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love this time of year? The cherry blossoms are out, and Riverside Drive, which I take to and from work every day, is a wonderful array of pink and white floral trees. It’s absolutely beautiful, if you take the time to look around. In fact, I’d say the part of Riverside that I take every morning, a couple miles in each direction from the hospital, is the most beautiful part of this very ugly and depressing city. I love that I get to see it every day. But… that wasn’t anywhere close to my point. It’s spring training, which means baseball season will be starting soon. I heart baseball. And, today is the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. The only problem is, it doesn’t start until something ridiculous like 9:30pm. Seriously? To the people who scheduled the final game of the college basketball season, wtf were you thinking? How many people do you think will actually be able to stay awake until midnight to watch this thing? Are you banking on people falling asleep with their tvs on, so it won’t hurt your ratings? If it were me in charge, the latest I’d schedule this game is 8pm. That way everyone can still get to bed at a decent time, including those players. Geez.

The future:
It’s been almost a year since Roomie and I took our trip to Colorado. I have all those memories, almost like it was yesterday, but still sometimes I find it hard to believe that I actually experienced it. It seems more like a fantasy movie version of my life; where I drop everything and drive across country to see my life from a different angle. But it wasn’t a dream, it really happened and it was wonderful and exciting and I miss it. I want to go back.

From Garden of the Gods

Can you blame me, seeing just one of the pictures of the trip? It wasn’t great weather; it rained most of the way out and most of the way home, it was cold most of the time, and our first night of camping was interrupted by a mountain blizzard. But it was a wonderful trip. In fact, I think Roomie and I are going to end up moving there. I think. At least for a year. We’ve been wanting to move out of Binghamton for a while now, and we both really loved Colorado. We are going to look at Asheville, NC in June, but unless we absolutely fall head over heals in love with it, I think Colorado is the final answer. We’ll see.

Alright, I’m done. Maybe not completely, but enough for now. Plus I have to get to work. You know, adulthood and responsibilies and all that crap. Have a great Monday all!! 🙂

Feature Fridays: Introducing Katika from katikamade!

I apologize for my absence yesterday. I could not for the life of me think of something interesting to write about. I could have told you about my latest project, or the most recent sale in my shop, but I have a feeling that is about as interesting to read as it is to write; meaning, not at all. So I just didn’t post. Did you miss me?

Anyway, it’s Friday, and you all know what that means… it’s Feature Friday!! I love Feature Friday. Today we’ll be talking with Katika from katikamade. How to even begin to describe her shop… Her stuff is so unique and adorable that you will definitely want to check it out yourself; this blog post won’t do her shop justice that’s for sure. Before you go, however, let’s learn a little more about Katika!

What is your name/shop name?
Katika: My nickname since college is Katika, hence my shop name: KATIKAmade.

What types of items do you sell?
Katika: My colorful birds were one of my first posted items that hold up my shop theme: colorful baby and home decor… And most recently, original paper goods.
I fell in love with felt and haven’t stopped ever since… Thinking what can I do next with it. My main areas right now are nursery and home decor, favor boxes, party printables and most recently wedding favors and favor boxes.

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Katika: I started selling on Etsy on October of last year even though I opened my account earlier than that; I didn’t post anything until later last year. Then, all of a sudden and after my second girl was born I got this urge to pursue what I was supposed to do since always: create and get inspired by all things that surround me. And what a great feeling to love all the beauty that is around us.

How did you get started with your craft?
Katika: I majored in products design in college. So, naturally I have always been inclined to make beautiful things. It took me a little while to realize what I was supposed to do, but after several tries at different mediums I chose the creation of felt creatures; and from there is been such a wild ride. Now I have products in felt, fabric and paper.

What else do you do when not working on your shop? Anything else would you like the blog readers to know about you?
Katika: Since the birth of my second darling girl I stayed at home with them.
I have enjoyed every second and every milestone of their growth … And that doesn’t have a price .

They keep me busy all day long, so I work all night long (pretty much …). I’m happy because I truly enjoy what I do and have ideas coming constantly that I wish I had more hands…(sigh).

I enjoy going to movies, even though don’t have much time for that right now…But every new moon (ja ja) we try to go out and get an afternoon date with the hubby.

Where do you get your inspiration? Both for your craft and life in general?
Katika: My inspiration comes from anywhere and anytime, so I’m always ready to draw or write my ideas on my phone so I can recreate them later. Sometimes a word, a color or a beautiful creature can trigger my imagination into a rollercoaster of ideas and possibilities.

I recently started to create an assortment of favor boxes for different occasions, based on the shape of the milk carton which I loved since I laid eyes on it. It got me thinking what I could do to make it even more unique and different. I started creating (along with my husband, who is an amazing cartoonist) fun, colorful designs for the box.

I am a romantic at heart, little things are the ones that drive me. Details and words are very important to me. My life quote that I think stole from someone but don’t remember is: “If you do what you love you love what you do”. Beautiful and simple as that.

And I wish you can always do what you love so your life can fill fulfilled!
Seriously, how cute is her stuff? You definitely want to go visit her shop, katikamade, and/or connect with her on her Facebook page, her Twitter, or her blog. Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend everyone! 🙂

*If you are interested in being next week’s featured seller, please send me a message through my Etsy profile, or by email at megk8100@yahoo.com.

I have a cheerio stuck in my cleavage

Yes, really. TMI? I don’t care. I’m trying to figure out how to get it out without my cubemate noticing. I probably should stop eating cheerios while hunched over my desk staring at funny pictures on the internet. They’re just so damn delicious! They aren’t even real cheerios, they’re this organic something or other that tastes oddly like very yummy cardboard. Definitely not in a bad way. And I’m pretty sure that they have a metric ass-ton of fiber in them. They’re only three points for a whole cup of them, so it’s really a win-win for everyone involved! And when I say everyone, I mean me, of course. They do have kind of a weird aftertaste, and they definitely taste a bit funky after a sip of coffee, but whatever, it’s food. I’ve always hated those little kids who come into the restaurant and throw cheerios everywhere, but now I get it. Sorry, little kids who I’ve given my best death stare! I totally understand you now!

I have so done this before.

Roomie and I went craft shopping last night, because I needed to find cellophane bags to put the magnets that I have yet to make in. Damn AC Moore, they were having a yarn sale. I cannot resist a good yarn sale, especially when everything, including Pirouette and Sashay is 30 percent off. I have a problem, that’s my conclusion after this latest shopping trip. I have a yarn addiction. My sage of a roommate says that admitting it is the first step; he’s so smart! I’ve never had a problem admitting it, but when I go to a craft store for something that costs two dollars and emerge with 90+ dollars worth of yarn, it scares me a little. What am I going to do with all that yarn? It’s not like I bought stuff that I don’t have a use for; it’s all for specific projects. The problem is, I will never, not ever in my lifetime even if I was to have a normal life span which I probably won’t, be able to use all the yarn I own. Never. There is simply too much of it. And when it comes to yarn sales, I have zero willpower to not take advantage of them. The other problem is, all of that yarn lives in roomie’s bedroom. It used to be the craft room before he moved in, and he allowed me to keep all my craft supplies in the corner. I can’t even get to the corner now, there’s too much stuff there. I’m going to eventually sort everything out, but I’m not really sure where to start at this point.

I got that doctor’s note, and gave it to my boss at the restaurant. I didn’t really sit down and talk to her about it, but that’s probably for the best. I probably would have threatened her with a lawsuit. Why, you may be asking? Because she scheduled me for only Saturday this week, which I’ve now got a doctor’s note saying I can’t work. So if she takes me off that shift, I won’t have any shifts this week. I would be very tempted to assume that no shifts means she’s “letting me go”, and to start filing for unemployment. She doesn’t want to pay me unemployment, which is why she’s only scheduling me for one shift a week; she is trying to make me quit. Uh huh, not gonna work. If she wants me gone, she’s going to have to find a damn good reason to fire me. It’s certainly not going to be performance related. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m covered under the DDA (disability discrimination act). If I were her, I’d want to keep me as happy, and healthy, as possible to avoid a lawsuit. Especially since she knows my little sister is a lawyer.

Anyway, onto happier things. I’ve been really bad about linking to other blogs in this thing lately. So I’m thinking of sharing at least one link everyday that I find useful, interesting, funny, or otherwise entertaining. What do you think? Not that I really care; it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want with it, damnit. Onward (and have a very happy Wednesday, all :))!

Wednesday Web Gem!
OMG I need to do this right now!!!
-This blog by “Jeeze Julia” on pantry organization is GREAT. I love, love, love mason jars, and there are thousands of uses for them. This is just one, but it really does make me want to run, not walk, to AC Moore and buy as many mason jars as I can, and then run, not walk, all the way home to organize my pantry. That in itself is a feat; I don’t even go in there if I can help it. That little corner of my home could probably qualify for FEMA assistance all by itself. Damn this being an adult thing, and damn working for a living, I want to clean my pantry!!

Too much inspiration?

I have so many ideas of where I want my shop to go. I figured I could keep going with the knitted stuff until the end of summer/fall, so once it got cold I could have an entire store of cozy knitted items for people to buy. But…. and this may not sound like a problem to the rest of the world… I’ve got too many ideas of things that I’d like to make. And I want to make them all right now!!

I have everything I need to make super cute magnets. I have everything I need to make wine charms and stitch markers. I have everything I need to make wallets, microwavable rice bags, eye masks, and on and on and on. And I will probably spend most of the winter making these things. But my worry is this; do all these things fit in with what’s currently for sale in my shop? I keep buying stuff to make coasters, which I adore making. But so far I have 14 sets of coasters sitting in my den (where all the finished items live until someone buys them). Do I really need more? I only have 47 items in my shop right now, so I really can’t see starting another shop just for the non-knitted stuff. But on the other hand I can; I could have one shop full of knitted items, one shop full of decoupaged items, and one full of sewn items. Or I could just throw it all in together and hope that people don’t think it makes my shop look too confused. But I am confused!!

So, my lovely reader friends…. What would you do? What should I do? Am I overthinking this?

Back to reality

This post may sound like more of my usual griping, but I swear, I’m really not in a terrible mood this morning. I promise. I’m actually in a pretty decent mood, all things considering. It’s also going to sound very random and confused, but I’m going to try to make everything cohesive. Anyway…. Onward!

Let’s start with Day Job #2. Remember I told you how my GM had been scheduling me for Saturdays, and how I asked her if I could have the weekends off so my body could recover, and also so I could get into a routine with my pills? Yeah, that didn’t go so well. I left her a note last week, asking her not to put me on Saturdays anymore and asking her to call me if she had any questions about it. She decided that instead of giving me the courtesy of a phone call, she would send me a nasty note through the email system. She asked me to provide her with a doctors note to prove that I had medical problems. Umm, what? She knows I had surgery 6 months ago, she knows about all my meds, she knows how sick I am. Now she’s questioning my medical history? I’m sorry, this woman is like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum. And if she’s reading this, I have this to say. I’m not the only one who feels this way about you; I’m just the only one who has the balls to tell you.

So we got in a screaming match in the office after my shift was over on Thursday. I had threatened to put in my two weeks, but the manager on duty convinced me to think about it a little more. She kept telling me I should just quit, and if I did put my two weeks in, she would fire me on the spot. Then she kind of calmed down for no apparent reason (just like a 5 year old only has a tantrum for a little while and then it’s over) and told me she wouldn’t schedule me for Saturdays going forward, but I still needed that doctors note. Oook, I go home pretty pleased with myself, feeling like I’d accomplished my goals.

Fast forward a few days to Saturday, which of course I had to work. I went back to look at the schedule before my shift started, and lo and behold…… She put me on the schedule for Saturday. Worse, she only put me on the schedule for Saturday. This woman is a piece of work. I’ve met delinquent teenagers who were more respectful than this 50+ year old woman. Well, I guess that’s just a shame, because today I go to the doc’s to get that note that says I don’t have to work Saturdays anymore. Too bad so sad. This woman obviously think she’s going to be able to play games with me, but she doesn’t have a clue what she’s getting herself into.

You know the sad part? I would have been more than willing to work a couple Saturdays if she hadn’t surprised me with them. If she had said something, asked me, told me it was only temporary, I would have been more than happy to help. I love serving, and for a long time I loved the restaurant. But I’m only going to go so far to help someone who obviously doesn’t give a shit about me. I can’t tell you how much I’m appreciated at Day Job #1; at least once a day I hear about how much I’m helping and how grateful they are. Day Job #2, though? Never, not once in over a year and a half, have they said that they even notice how hard I work, let alone that they appreciate it. And that’s the job I’m supposed to keep my #1 priority? Umm, no.

So anyway…. I did manage to keep my promise yesterday, and I took almost the whole day off from Etsy. The only thing I did do was list a set of coasters. I was still creating, but it was nice to not have to worry about promoting and blogging and all of that. I was actually super productive; I think I made 6 or 7 new sets of coasters, a pair of yoga socks (rainbow, again), and a couple tea totes. I don’t have pics of everything yet, but I’ll have them up in my shop soon. The next project is probably another set of dishcloths, since I still have about a metric ass-ton of cotton laying around.

Two more quick things and then I’m done. #1, I lost another pound this week. I also realized I was PMS’ing like crazy, so hopefully that’s part of why the weights coming off so slow. I’m aiming for two pounds next week, bringing the total to four so far. #2, it’s cold out. I know it’s March, and it’s Upstate NY, and it’s supposed to be cold, but last week’s 75+ degree weather spoiled me. I hate March.

So that’s about it. Not very interesting, but sometimes it’s nice to be boring. I like having my quiet weekends at home, watching random tv shows on netflix or sports or some crappy movie on cable. Anyway, as it’s Monday morning, I’ve posted my new favorite song below. Enjoy!! 🙂

Feature Fridays: Introducing Mary Ann from Ovation Studio!

It may surprise you to know that I own a sewing machine. I don’t sew, at least not well, but I try. Or I stare at my sewing machine and start to have a panic attack. The thing intimidates the bejeezus out of me. My fabric scissors scare me more, but the sewing machine is a close second in my list of the most terrifying things ever. It’s not like yarn; you can mess up with yarn, decide to start over, and that’s ok because you really can’t ruin yarn. Even decoupaging doesn’t scare me like sewing. But anyway, we aren’t here to talk about my fears… Let’s talk about someone who actually can sew!

This Feature Friday we meet Mary Ann of Ovation Studio. She makes the cutest little coin purses and zipper pouches I’ve ever seen! Funny story actually; before I had decided that she would be this week’s feature, I was shopping around for a notions case, and I happened to bookmark her shop as one to keep in mind. But there I go talking about myself again. Let’s get to know Mary Ann a bit better, shall we?

What is your name/shop name?
Mary Ann: My name is Mary Ann and I live with my husband Cameron. He inspired me to name my shop “Ovation Studio”. When I told him I was thinking of starting a business to use up some of my fabric stash, he gave me a standing ovation!

I’m a quilter and long time sewer, so I have shelves and shelves of fabrics. It is so hard to throw out even the smallest piece. And like so many crafters, my supplies seem to spill over into most rooms in the house.

You might notice by my spelling that I am Canadian and often add an extra ‘o’ or ‘u’ to some of my words.

What types of items do you sell?
Mary Ann: I sell affordable, well made coin purses, pencil cases, lanyards and padded zipper pouches. They are perfect to carry money, ID, keys, phone, IPod, camera, cosmetics or small electronics. I have 3 or 4 of them in my large purse at all times filled with one thing or another.

I’ve recently introduced lanyards at the request of a few nurse and teacher friends.
I wear one around my neck with a small pair of scissors and a seam ripper attached, when I’m sewing.

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Mary Ann: I opened my shop mid November, 2011 – just 4 months ago. I am really pleased with how well it is doing and with all the wonderful customers and people I’ve met. It amazes me that I’m sending my little pouches to all parts of the world, Australia, Brazil, Norway…to name a few.

How did you get started with your craft?
Mary Ann: I learned to sew in grade nine and it quickly became a way of life. If I wanted a new dress for the school dance, I had to make it. Christmas presents came in the form of piles of fabric.

Later I became a Home Economics teacher and taught others to sew. After staying home with my 3 children and then some retraining, I returned to teaching and became a Specialist Teacher of the Blind. It has been very rewarding.

What else do you do when not working on your shop? Anything else would you like the blog readers to know about you?
Mary Ann: When I’m not busy with my shop, I’m walking, volunteering, reading, spending time at the cottage or “gameing”. Every second week I meet up with friends for an evening of board games and a glass of wine. We have a hoot!

My favourite activity is spending time with my family – hubby, 2 sons, 1 daughter, 2 little granddaughters and 1 wee grandson. Life is good.

Where do you get your inspiration? Both for your craft and life in general?
Mary Ann: My inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. I have many more ideas that I have time, and I’m always making lists of what I want to make next.

There are so many fabulous fabric designers, prints and colours that I’ll never run out of ideas.
Honestly, she inspires me to try sewing again. Or stare at my sewing machine until I give up and buy something from her shop. 😛 Go check out her fabulous selection of adorable pouches at Ovation Studio!

*If you are interested in being next week’s featured seller, please send me a message through my Etsy profile, or by email at megk8100@yahoo.com. Enjoy your Friday everyone!