Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birthday Princess!

Sunday! - Coffee and Cake
Mish mash mosh, children everywhere, actual cakes and bubbles...

My baby is now 1 entire year old! And wow what an exciting day we had last Saturday. The sun was shining, my food didnt turn into a complete mess (hurrah!) and despite madam's protests at all of her grown up birthday guests (she's still very clingy bless her) I believe that she had a very lovely day :)

I would have pictures of the party by the way! But my SD card has a corrupt image on it and I can't copy ANYTHING onto my PC. I have a reader on its way to see if I can transfer them direct (as opposed to through the camera), and hopefully i can show you some pics next weekend!

Anyway, onto the day! I myself was pretty pooped throughout the afternoon having been up in the wee hours baking cakes dancing to Outkast to keep me awake, whilst my other half was doing a big clean up around the house. It was one of those things where it hadn't exactly been planned that way but kind of happened regardless of the plans, as you know with kids it NEVER works out how you hope it will. We just make plans to make ourselves feel better and efficient don't we? LOL! So night owls we were!

My concerns were that I had possibly sabotaged the cakes as my tired and flappy arms began to flag as time progressed, yet luckily for the party guests they ended up looking and tasting pretty good! Phew! I decided to leave decorating them until the morning which was a good idea as the birthday girl decided at 2am to wake up just in time to celebrate the time of her birth, and inadvertantly spoiling the surprise of the amazingly flowery handmade decorations and balloons (the little monkey). A few hours were spent entertaining her with a present (the coolest wind up caterpiller EVER), watching her plough into balloons galore, and touching up on the last of my photo montage of her first year. It was all good, it worked out well in the end! I had fun decorating the cakes in the morning using lots of edible glitter, strawberries and wafer flowers! I haven't been so girly in years it was great!

Im really chuffed with how they turned out. I'm not into a lot of the things you see in the shops that they have for baby partys and was secretly horrified by just how much Disney stuff there was in my local card shop for party decorations, so ours were about 95% handmade by me, and were reused or recycled. I have this awesome flower circle punch that i used to use for labels for my hats but i had this amazing idea the day before as i rifled through a ton of old gift bags that were in the paper recycling, and made great use of them by making patchwork style paper flowers. They were a great hit with the guests and the kids, I was ever so chuffed!

In our garden i figured as a time saving mechanism, rather than decorate the trees, fences etc I got out a bubble machine and had that running for most of the day, along with the sand pit and pop up play house the children were really happy and seemed to enjoy themselves :)

My little man was a bit jealous so was frequently telling me that his sister still had presents to open (as he wanted to play with them lol!) but I was proud of him for being a good boy for the day. He has lately been a bit grumpy, probably to do with all the party planning goings on. But he made a great host for all of his friends and did a great job of leading and entertaining everyone, including us grown ups! My little girl had spent most of the day chasing bubbles or being held as she finds anyone but me or my partner an excuse to be a bit dramatic so that was an interesting dynamic to the day! It was rather silly but bless her she was giving everyone smiles in the end. :) It was a great day, I'm really pleased it all worked out.

Anyway! Until next time, have a fab Sunday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

BOO! ... I'm Back :)

Boo! - I see You :)
crikey where's this one been?...

Well... When was the last time I posted? (Checking) Like, March? Wow that's quite unbelievable for me after managing to post weekly for so long! But there has been so many reasons behind it. You'll remember me being slightly overwhelmed at the time with work? Well... it got worse (better)!

I can't complain because it was such a great thing at the time to think YES! My business is successful! But man, I had really been plundered in at the deep end. I had to pretty much stop everything I was doing in every aspect of my life, apart from caring for my kids so I could work. Literally... including meals and sleep. It was shockingly busy. After the first busy day it became apparent that there was more for me to do so I had pretty much given up bed to work on hats, to hopefully ensure I wouldn't let anyone down. I worked throughout most of the nights in that period that I could keep my eyes open for, for about 5 weeks on the trot. It wasn't pretty, I looked like something out of a horror movie each day through fatigue and had on a few occassions collapsed because of it. But there is a reason behind it and it was due to the fact that Etsy had popped one of my hats into one of their Etsy Finds emails and my gosh the response was phenominal. I only found out like 30 mins after it happened when wondering if all the emails from Etsy in my inbox were a glitch LOL! I had a few hundred orders to contend with plus hundreds of emails to deal with in that first week, which just kept coming (but not as severely) in the time to follow. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed to begin with as it was such a positive thing to have happened but looking back I wish I was better prepared as I certainly won't be doing all nighters for a month again lol!

My mistake was not making stricter policies, or being clear enough in my listings about what buyers can do to buy/get in touch/etc, and as the vast majority of my query emails were actually answered in my shop announcement, I found myself getting highly frustrated by the fact that people were quick to email me before checking elsewhere, which after few tens of dozens of emails did start to get frustrating as I wasn't working on the orders. It's surprising to think about how much time I spend on my emails but I had always envisioned my business being personable, but I lost so much work time to emails which really could have saved my butt on the whole polava if I had made my shop more newbie friendly.

So I have had multiple shop/listing/appearence overhauls to try and not only make it all "make sense" and easier to work out how to find information, but I figured it needed a facelift too. Hence the new banner :)

Ah it's nice to be back though, and it's nice to have learnt something big about my business that I think will help me greatly in the future! Although I have to say something odd has been happening with Etsy recently that seems to have slowed loads of shops sales down. Has anyone noticed it with theirs? I scoured the forums and someone said that one of their Etsy friends who's one of the top Etsy shops selling like hundreds of things a week is down to single figures which just isn't right at all, and I had honestly thought that maybe it was just that time of the year :s

I hear on the grapevine that Google has been making it more awkward for internet users by introducing more keywords for their "don't you dare use these on your webpage" list. For Etsy users, if you're lucky to be syndicated it will effect you most definitely. Words like adult were an issue before, in or out of their obvious context. But now words like shipping are a problem! Which for me meant changing ALL of my listings to make sure I don't disappear off the internet. It's a good thing I'd been planning on it anyway as part of my overall big shop changes. But yeah some people in the forums believe that's a large part of this low views, low sales problem of the past month. Who knows but I do hope it changes soon. These are livelihoods we're talking about for a lot of established sellers (new ones too) and I think Etsy needs to talk about it as they are aware of it! In the mean time I'm looking into advertising, making new hats etc so it's time I can make use of still, although I would like to start earning more consistently again.

It's leaving me with lots of time to enjoy my daughters babyhood as on Saturday she'll be 1 entire year old! My baby! I can't believe I'm at this point already and she has done so well bless her in her first year. She's walking now, enjoying baby signing to the point of using it to communicate and not just to make us smile :) and she's playing lots with her big brother too. I can't wait for the day, I'm hoping it'll be sunny so we can have a little party in the garden.

So until the weekend, as I'm unsure I'll be blogging again until then have a great week!

moonangelnay x