etsy...rhymes with betsy

Friday, February 26, 2010

I've been doing something uncharacteristic this week: reading etsy crafter/business-y blogs.

Usually this stuff is way too dry and calculated to hold my interest. But I'm trying to get refocused and organized with my stationery business/etsy store.

Two VERY exciting projects have popped up, catalyzing this renewed focus. (more to come on that, bien sur.)

"Etsy and the Culture of Cheap" (here) was a good post on valuing one's work. This is hard when you're just trying to cut even with supplies and time.


While there are sellers on Etsy who make a full-time living from their work...there are many more who view Etsy as an extension of their hobby. They knit scarves in their spare time, and someone suggested that they sell them on Etsy. These sellers don’t consider labor, profit, or many of the other costs of running a business when setting their prices because they don’t have to. And because these low prices occur on Etsy, more and more buyers expect them. Which creates a vicious cycle where sellers feel they need to lower their prices in order to sell.

And where does this vicious cycle stop? If it "stops with me" then I'm "stopping" myself right out of business, no?

The hardest part in all of this (for me, at least): knowing how much to charge for the intangibles, ie, time. I have no qualms charging for materials for obvious reasons...but I'm so scared of frightening someone away by charging too much for time. It's so nebulous. Besides, I'm just one of many acts in town, as they say. Such-and-such could certainly go elsewhere.

On top of this, the "BizLadies" column on design*sponge this week was "How to Price Your Work" (here).

Interessant.

I'm not writing this post as a precursor to raising my stationery prices or anything nutty. All this post is is (is is?) an feeble attempt at explaining my not-so-refined-personal-business-acumen thought process. [and trying to have one, at least.]

The point maybe is that you are compensated enough (subjective definition) so you feel it's "worth it" and don't lose the joy you have in your craft. Anyone out there hear me? (...'cause I can't seem to hear myself)

Whew.

Grain of salt.

Some niceties on etsy, to distract you from the above silly jargon.



[comfort garden no.6, here]


[pretty blue glasses here]


[clover and white lace garland here]


Tennessee wall hook here


short, but oh my! so cute, here


Have a Grand Ole Weekend

love=jerkins

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

cute, right?



[photo and post/how to here]

This was from mint design blog before Valentine's, but I cannot get it out of my mind.

Succulents + word rope? Yes, thank you.

However...I'm afraid the word "love" spelled out on a planter would start to bug me. Does this seem unreasonable? I love love. But still.

Would spelling out "jerkins" be just as kitschy? (I mean, it practically means love anyway.)

Don't answer that. What other words would work?

"green"

"plant"

"kitchen"

Dunno?


In other (less rambly) news, I made some more cinnamon rolls for my new friends at work. You know, just to make sure they'd like me. (escaped only eating 1.5 of them.)


Here's Jonny's pan under my new-ish cake plate from Santa.

First saw it on Alexis Stewart's blog, can't find exact post. It's so lightweight, and I love that it's flat.


found here, from WMF. A good one to be able to leave out on the table, no?

Speaking of the Honorable Mrs PW, she's on Fox & Friends this morning, making the blessed cinnamon rolls themselves! On television!

Fortituous timing much?


[photo by Ree Drummond, recipe here]

If Fox & Friends can't convince you to make these, then I don't know what will.

Do it!

The Little-Sweatshirt-That-Could...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Memphians generally dislike the Tennessee Titans NFL team.

They used and abused us. Passed over us as the next expansion spot, but then played in our Liberty Bowl facility for a season while they built the big fancy one in our rival-city, Nashville. [Jonny is definitely still not over it.]

"If Elvis were still alive, we'd HAVE an NFL team!" people said.

I like sports. I'm not a girl-sports-freak, but can usually keep up. Grew up watching the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the 90s, revere Memphis Tigers basketball games, and for heavens sakes, I went to the University of Texas, where collegiate sports come before just about everything.

The Titans do not rank in my top teams, like at all. The Longhorns (alma mater), Tigers (hometown heroes), Grizzlies (the hometown professional team-that-could), and Cowboys (familial heritage/rite of passage) all hold permanent love in my heart. (It sure didn't hurt the Titans cause that they drafted Vince Young, though. I'll give 'em that.)

But I freaking love this sweatshirt.

Circa Christmas 2000, my dad got us tickets for a Monday Night Football game on Christmas Day. Titans vs. Cowboys. Could it get any better for the Guinn family?

[alas, there were only 4 tickets, and Sissy had to stay behind. I'm not sure she's over it yet.]

That game, I can say confidently, was the absolute coldest I've ever been in my entire life (we had sleeping bags, handwarmers, the whole bit---didn't matter. freezing.). And I can't tell you who won. But I can tell you that this sweatshirt was the best thing to come out of that game.

For some reason, it has become the integral piece of my at-home winter uniform for the past 10 (!) years, through four years of college and now (almost) four years of marriage.


I know it's not cute. It's not very flattering. I try not to wear it out of the house (often). Yet its qualities of being hoodless and light blue... these somehow trump all the cute zip-up hoodies and other warm items in my keeping over the past decade. It's loose, but not too loose. Warm, but not too hot. (Did I mention it's hoodless?)

Thank you, sweatshirt. Although I'm sure confused college roommates and Titans-hating-husband grew/have grown to dislike the look of you, I have not. Nor shall I, until you have holes and are wrestled away from me when I die.

Love, Leslie


on a [slightly] less dramatic note, these rumors are flying about a possible Gilmore Girls movie. HOW FREAKING WONDERFUL WOULD THAT BE

I'm Lost...or not?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost has indeed started up again... husband + i definitely enjoy this television program; I have even been known to participate in a weekly email group (or two).
However, my fervor has diminished over the past few seasons. It's almost gotten to be too much to keep up with if you have to wait a week between episodes.
I cannot remember everything (it was easier with the dvds)--but do not want to do the homework required in order to 100% keep up.

...Also it's slightly irksome how they ended one season last May and started the next one the FOLLOWING FEBRUARY! (indulgent much?)

Notwithstanding, I delighted coming across these Lost posters by Ty Matteson on Twig & Thistle today.

very clev-ah [and nice to look at, whether you watch ou non]







How I do love (almost) anything clever.


do you watch Lost?

and, almost as importantly, do you refer to it in all-caps?

The w-w-w-winner

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

straight from random.org,




The winner is comment #33, Julie

Julie (Okami) said...
I love #3 and Spring is my favorite season, I love seeing everything come back to life.


Julie, if you'll email me we can coordinate getting your set of cards to you.


Thanks again, to all who entered!

Red's Moment of Glory

Monday, February 15, 2010

Every Monday, I love looking at the "Pets on Furniture" feature on the remarkably lovely Desire to Inspire. The rules state that the furniture piece has to be the focal point of the photo--the pet being the picture's accessory.

So when I snapped this [albeit iphone] photo of Red the Kitty on our Red Chair (on his new favorite thing, the Snuggie), I had to send it in.

See Red's 15 minutes of fame HERE on Desire to Inspire, and thanks Kim, for making us some proud parents!



[where he sat last night during our Valentine's Dinner]

Also, a big ole thanks to everyone who has come out of the woodwork (or the wallpaper? yellow wallpaper?) to enter the winter's day giveaway! The winner will be announced tomorrow, and you have until midnight tonight (central time) to enter!

hope you had a swell V-day, are having a great Prez Day. I, for one, never tire of seeing snow.

Giveaway...on such a winter's day

Friday, February 12, 2010

My good friend Jesse hates February. I don't fault her for this. It's dark, wet, and cold. The end of winter for the most part, if you're a Memphian. (If you're secretly a vampire, though, you don't mind it so much.)

So, to cheer you up, should you need it, I'm offering a giveaway today!

12 personalized cards/envelopes, in one of the designs below:

1.


2.


3.


4.


(my etsy shop link here)

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what your favorite season is and which card is your favorite design.

You have until midnight on Monday, Feb 15, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesdee, Feb. 16.

Happy February Doldrums/Vday, m'friends!

It's Winter and I Read

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Many of you know that I have an English degree. I love books. I love reading. I love letting well-crafted, tightly-written words and their layers of meaning wash over me. I love flipping pages, I love holding books, and I love the world of possibility one feels walking into a bookstore or library.

Work, adulthood, ADD tendencies, housekeeping, and marriage--these have all somewhat slowed down my reading pace over the past several years. Turns out I no longer have endless alone time in the evenings before going to sleep.

Anyone?... Anyone?

[When I was little, like maybe 9 or 10 years old, one Friday night my mom told me I could "read as long as I wanted" before bed. This seemed like an unimaginable privilege at the time, as this was not the case on school nights. "As long as I wanted" turned out to be longer than she'd anticipated: she came into my room around 2 a.m. and said, "umm, when I said 'as long as you want,' I thought it would end way before this."]


Perhaps my love of reading/books/libraries is closely intertwined with my love of winter and cloudy days? There's nothing else you "should" be doing outside when it's cold, rainy, or dark. You can legitimately be snuggled up inside, reading, under your snuggie (in front of your space heater), and no one can suggest otherwise.

...And plus, what sunny day-images are conjured up when reminiscing old favorites like Jane Eyre, Sense & Sensibility, or Wuthering Heights? That's right--zero. All clouds and moors.

With that not-so-little prologue complete, I'll tell you what I've read recently...

(inspired by my old Sno Beach pal, Margaret, and her recent post about books she's enjoyed recently. check out her blog if you haven't. Love her blog title, bien sur.)

First up, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.


Absolutely loved it! totally delightful. I loved the letter-writing format, I loved the heroine, and I loved how clever the storytelling was. Flew through this one. In fact, I read it while we were in Arizona, and retired early one night to read because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I was also completely captivated by the historical fiction aspect. Five stars!

Next was a book Mandi loaned me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.


This was a sweet story told in the first-person by a dog about his owners.

Although I enjoyed it, and read it almost in one day (on the plane coming back from AZ), I did think the racecar-driving parallels were kinda self-indulgent, and skipped over them as the plot got going. The author would deviate into chapters of "how to race in the rain," and it was a little too dramatic. Beyond that, it was a good read (and made me wish we had a puppy asap!).

Just finished the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout.


This one was told in more of a short-story format, based in a coastal Maine town, but all revolving around or coming back to Mrs. Olive Kitteridge in one way or another.

My mom said it best, "It was hard to read a book about a woman I didn't like. But I'm so glad I did."

Yes, it was hard at first, but when the book got going, I really appreciated how she was flawed and weird--the whole thing slightly reminiscent of Winesburg, Ohio.

This one gets my "Run, Don't Walk" label.

......................................................................

What have you read lately? Recommendations? Throw 'em out!

Come on, I know yall read (even though book posts don't usually get as much lovin')... what's really "made your skirt fly up" lately, as P-Dub says?


p.s. if you have trouble remembering books you've read or want to read, may I recommend goodreads.com? You can track here what you've already read and/or want to read. It's helpful to have it all in one place, especially if you tend to be scatterbrained at all.

Snow Again (!) and a Super Bowl Tradition

Monday, February 08, 2010

Surprise! We woke up this morning to four inches of snow on the ground, and work is closed for today. Wow, don't mind if I do.

Our courtyard in the early morning hour:


[summertime courtyard here]

Inches!


Okay, so obviously the Saints won last night. Diehard or not, how can you not be happy for the Saints and the city of New Orleans? Duh.

Our first year married, we had a Super Bowl party with our small group from church (which Mandi and I have continued putting together every year).

That first year, I made some sugar cookies with orange and blue frosting (is it possible the Bears and the Colts played that year?), and our pal Clay loved them.

Thus, I started the tradition of making team-colored-frosted sugar cookies every year. Here's my attempt at Saints-gold icing, along with Colts blue (way easier). Getting gold icing was pretty tough, and ended up looking more like Grey Poupon.

(this "gold" was three drops of yellow + one drop red + one drop blue food coloring)


hee hee.

A while ago, I found this sugar crinkles recipe in (wedding gift) Southern Living Cookies book, recipe here. It's very dependable, and if you do the step of rolling them in sugar, they're delightful sans frosting (but really, who doesn't prefer them frosted?).

Sugar Crinkles
Southern Living
Yield: about 5 1/2 dozen

Ingredients

* 1 cup shortening
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon lemon extract (I used almond)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup sugar

Preparation

Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough. (I rolled mine into a log in waxed paper to chill, and then sliced them off of that into discs.)

Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar. (Didn't do those two steps 'cause I sliced 'em.) Place balls on ungreased/(parchment-lined) cookie sheets.

Bake at 350° for 6-7 minutes or until barely golden. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I really like this cookie's texture, and used my trusty buttercream frosting.

Leslie's No-Fail Buttercream Frosting


1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
half a bag of powdered sugar (4-ish cups)

whip it good, until it's all good and fluffy. add the sugar gradually, until it's the texture you like, nice 'n thick for me. add the coloring however you like.

Also made these Tortilla Rolls, via my friend Nishta's lovely blog Blue Jean Gourmet.


[photo by Sonya Cueller]

I can never get these little rolls to look as pretty as this, btw. But they still taste goooooood. I used slivered almonds instead of pecans, too. Yummmmmm.

(Don't worry, I didn't go crazy last night and get too sidetracked on the ole Diet. I'm still on track. Despite eating one cookie.)

Happy Snow Day, mes amis!

Marilyn's Chair and a TV

Friday, February 05, 2010

My pal Marilyn, over at La Vie Quotienne, recently rescued this chair from her grandfather's office and gave it a makeover. She recovered the seat and spray-painted the arms and legs "heirloom white."

Isn't this just the cutest thing?


Imagine my surprise when she emailed me a photo and said that she was getting rid of it because of spousal taste differences, and did I want it?

HECK YES!

[once the aforementioned final guest room project is complete, I'll show you its new resting place at my desk.]

Merci beaucoup, Marilyn! J'adore!


Also, back in January, we went to visit J's grandparents in Nashville, and took them to eat at the venerable Loveless Cafe.

While waiting in the lobby, Jonathan spied an antique TV they were using as a console of sorts, next to a bench. [This is one of those restaurants where the lobby is jam-packed (jammed-packed?) with signed photos of celebrities who've eaten there, along with other 1950s/country paraphernalia.]

Anyway, considering J's love for antique radios (here and here, for examples), he was smitten with this antique TV idea, and scoured Craig's List when we got back to Memph.

Ta da!


I'm not real sure where it's going to go/what we're going to do with it yet...it probably won't have a good spot until we get to move. But, it is a welcome addition to J's little antique appliances collection he's got going.

Bon week-end!

Fabric Headboard: Take Two

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Last summer, I shared with you my fabric headboard that we made for the guestroom.



I still stand by the cuteness of the Alexander Henry "Koto" fabric.

But alas, I never found any bedding that would "go" ...

I did, however, find this adorable "Olivet" Pottery Barn bedding on e-bay for a steal. And loved it. So very much. [which appears to have vanished from the internet, because I can't find any links...but could have sworn that's the name of it. weird.]

This bedding perpetuated the need to recover Koto. (Sorry, Koto.)

I went back to JoAnn and found this faux-linen/burlap-y outdoor-ish fabric that was wayyyy more neutral (and cheap). Also, we still had leftover tacks to nail in from the original headboard-making extravaganza.

Sister came over before Christmas and helped me completely clean out this room before our holiday company came. We were in there for hours. So long, in fact, that you can actually now see the floor...in the whole room. The headboard was that day's finishing touch.

Here she is:


Here you can see Jonny's downtown Memphis photos, too:


Got the red and oatmeal throw pillows at JC Penney (and my alma mater pillow from Santa a few years ago). Also, if you're ever looking for Euro sham inserts, the cheapest I found was at Tuesday Morning for $7.99. Holla!

(Man, that left Euro pillow corner is bugging me. Why didn't I flip it back before taking those photos?)

So whatcha think?

Thanks, Sister, for your help organizing and recovering this headboard. It definitely "works" much better. I just love those cheery owls!

Thus, if you're considering making your own headboard, do not do as I did: pick your bedding first!

btw, if you want my haphazard instructions, go to the previous post here.

[There is one more project I have yet to complete for this room, so I cannot show you the whole shebang just yet...even though the floor is completely clear!]

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