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Friday, 27 November 2015

My Etsy Experience: taking the leap.

Etsy. Should I? Shouldn't I? What if … no one buys my goodies? What if … I'm not up to scratch? What if … the techy stuff is too hard for me to negotiate? What if …???? Taking the leap into opening my Etsy shop did not come without fear, stomach turnings, questioning, but I'm so glad I was brave enough to do it.

It all began a long time ago ...

October 2012, in fact, when I retired from teaching and moved to North Queensland so that, after nearly two years living apart, I could be with MLP while he pursued the career of his dreams.

Retirement was easy. I was away from home. A new town to explore. My older and wiser sister and Miss Betty only four hours drive away. And, very early on, while a volunteer wrapping Christmas presents in Myer, I met a new friend. A friend with similar interests and a friend who eventually started me on this escapade into retail. Selling the things I make to … strangers … and friends … a scary concept.

Aprons had been my "thing". I made aprons for friends and family. I still do.

While in North Queensland, I started making perfumed soy candles … again for friends and family.

And I up-cycled denim jeans into shoulder bags … for friends and family … and for me.

But, there's only so much friends and family can take. I'm sure you know what I mean.

I had a mother and Nanna who made some amazing things, but also made some things I didn't think were quite so amazing. At times, I had to be blunt, "Yes, mum, that hat crocheted out of plastic bread bags is very lovely, BUT, I don't want one." Mum and Nanna were the original up-cylcers. They made many, many things out of plastic bread bags, old cards; they would up-cycle anything.

I'm sure, like mum and Nanna, I have, at some time, given some friend or family member something they didn't think was quite as amazing as I do … did. For this, I humbly apologise.

So, at that point in my retired life, my new North Queensland friend suggested I join her at the market which was starting up where she lives, Carlyle Gardens.

A morning wandering around a market, sounded lovely. But, no, she meant having a stall. Selling things. Yikes. Sell my things to strangers? Test them on the open market?

Stomach turnings. Nausea building. What if …?

For some unknown reason, I said, "Oooookkaaay."

And we did.

There she is my lovely NQ friend and her market stall.

And me. Marketing. Who would have thought?

And people bought my things! Our things. I was stunned.

We went to other markets and set up our stalls.

And people … strangers … random strangers … bought our goodies! Gob-smackingly amazing!

And then … MLP was posted to Sydney.

So, like the true Virgo that I am, I did my research. I found markets in Sydney are expensive and I need to supply my own table, outdoor shade cover … with MLP away a lot for work, it was just not going to happen. I'm capable, but lugging a table and all sorts to set up for a market is difficult, to say the least. I know my limits. Hence, my marketing career came to a halt.

In the back of my mind was this little voice saying, "What about Etsy?"

I knew a little, but not very much, about this site called Etsy. So, again I did my research and …  procrastinated ...

Then this arrived.

From Naomi Bulger. Beautiful isn't it. I had "met" Naomi via Instagram, loved her blog and subscribed. Every subscriber receives a hand drawn snail mail from her. I was so excited when mine arrived.

A teapot. This IG friend knew me well.

But then I read the lovely letter inside …

Dear Libby, How is your Etsy shop going?... 

Naomi actually READ my ramblings on IG.

How was my Etsy shop going???? Well, it wasn't. I hadn't been brave enough … yet.

It took this snail mail letter and a visit from my older and wiser sister and, with her beside me, holding my hand, helping me out, urging me on, it happened. My Etsy shop. A handful of aprons and my shop was open.

That was over 12 months ago .. and almost 100 Etsy sales ago.

I'm so happy. I have a reason to keep sewing. I have strangers who think my goodies are worth spending their hard earned cash on.

And send me photos of my goodies living in their new homes. Homes in Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands. I think that's all, so far.

This one lives in Illinois, US.

I also sell my aprons through Alie Jane in Newcastle. Read the story of how that came about here.

Was the leap into Etsy worth while? 
Oh yeah.

Should you think about opening an Etsy shop?
Oh yeah!

Is the techy stuff too hard to negotiate?

Are your goodies up to scratch?
Oh yeah!!

So, just do it. Get onto the Etsy site and sign yourself up for a shop. Read everything that Etsy emails out. Their emails have helped me improve my shop slowly, little by little. Go into the forums to ask advice, hear what others have to say and are doing.

I'm still learning. My Etsy shop is still evolving. My goodies are still selling. I'm a happy camper.

Have your visited Etsy?

Have you bought some wonderful handmade Etsy goodies?
Share the luurve: tell me which Etsy shop they were in.

Do you have an Etsy shop?
Add a link to it in the comments so my readers can make a visit.

Some of my favourite Etsy shops currently are:

Have a wander around Etsy; you're sure to find something beautiful and handmade you love.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Cool things I've found wandering around the inter-web.

It's been quite a while since I've shared my inter-web adventures. It's not that I haven't been wandering, just that life's been busy. So, here are some cool inter-web sites that I thought you might like.

1. I'm a bit of a home stylist stalker. I love seeing what professional stylists do and learning their tricks. One stylist I particularly love to follow is Emily Henderson. I like her quirky nature and her ability to produce rooms that don't look "styled". 

I have also watched the videos from a TV Series she made a while ago, Secrets of a StylistI follow her on Instagram too. See …  I'm a true stalker.
Thought some of you might like her too.

2. By now you must know I'm fascinated by tiny houses and the Tiny House Movement. I found a New Zealand TV Series, Living Big in a Tiny House which had some interesting tiny houses. My absolute favourite was this sweet green house that, one year on, has evolved and is now home to three.

3. If there are little people in your family and you're looking for something beautiful, handmade and perfect for them for Christmas have a wander through Kitschy Honey Bees' amazing Etsy shop. Meaghan crochets the most beautiful toys, fruit, macarons … Yes, macarons!

You can follow Meaghan on Instagram too. I do.

4. My blog pick this time is Baby Mac. Beth lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and shares her life stories, recipes, rants, baby photos with us. When you meet her new baby Maggie, beware, she will steal your heart.

Beth is a blogger who tells it as it is. No gloss, just real life.

5. Finally, if you're into amazingly stunning tropical style art, you must have at look at Tracey Knowland's work. Tracey lives in Brooklet at the back of the Byron Bay area and her art is inspired by all things tropical.

The piece below, named Abundance, is a favourite of mine.

Puts me in a summery, holiday mood.

And, as usual, to finish off, one of my photos. One of the many lotus flower shots I took in Ubud.

As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.                           Buddha.

Hope my inter-web links bring a little joy to your world.
If you're new and want to do some more wandering around sites I think are cool,
click here.

Let me know which ones you like the most.

Share with me any inter-web spots I need to wander around in.

Friday, 13 November 2015

A shed + two men + one woman + a dog = Happiness.

A shed, a simple shed creates a life about family and friendship and fulfilment. Add in a dog, a faithful, ageing beauty who is constant, loving, loved and life is complete. Happy and complete.

She loves the shed, so does her dad, her mum and her uncle.

A dream of a fishing shack, a hideaway, has come to fruition. A shed to be shared with family and friends. A shed to realise the dream of a huge catch of barramundi and grunter and whiting and maybe even the odd trip out to the nearby islands for a few reef fish. These four shed owners could not want for more.

Every shed deserves its own mini-me

and a pumpkin patch to begin the veggie garden

and a neighbourly Forest Kingfisher on the wire.

Surroundings akin to paradise.

Island views from an empty beach front …

except for the odd oyster catcher

and a pair of curlews hiding in the nearby bush.

Cane fields close by with mill smoke stacks

and cane locos

and signs

remind me of the sights, smells and sounds of my childhood.

On the edge of the cane fields, in a waterhole, a jabiru, Australia's only stork,

seems to have taken up temporary residence.

Community values of respect and trust.

A church long past giving succour to its congregation,

yet someone still lovingly tends its gardens.

In its yard, orchids flourish in a ubiquitous frangipani tree

and a bike waits unrestrained for its young owner's return on the afternoon school bus.

There are the rivers … for sunset fishing

and bird watching expeditions.

Black kites … I think.

Cattle egrets in their orange mating attire.

The rivers reveal too the beauty of nature in the tropics.

Basket ferns and elkhorns.



Cannon ball mangroves … which I can't remember seeing before.

We had some minor mishaps requiring rapid bailing,

but the shed is a happy place.

Happy men, the fishing guru almost-in-law and the bird-watching brother.

Happy woman, the older and wiser sister.

Happy dog, the furry niece whose allowed on the bed when I visit.

Life couldn't be much better.

And, if you've been following me on Instagram, you'll recognise the shed's new rug.

Any shed has to have a few creature comforts.

Do you have a little simple haven, a getaway that brings you happiness?
What are the simple things that bring you pleasure?
Do the tropics pull at your heart strings just a little?