Dragonflies are on their Way!

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I've been out of large Dragonflies all summer but yesterday, I got a call from the manufacturer to let me know that they had finished a new production run and that my pretties were on their way.  They should be in any day now so Molly Bryn and I will soon be happily coloring in those gorgeous bejeweled wings!  All dragonflies and other colored enamel items can be found in the Dragonflies, etc section in my ArtFire shop.

I was thinking this morning that I need to do some serious re-vamping of my ArtFire shop in the coming weeks since that will be my only online shop until I manage to get a website up and running.  One thing that is really wonderful about ArtFire is that you can include up to 10 photos for each item.  So for my dragonfly assortments, I will now be able to include several "color cards", much like Deborah and Laura do over at Flights of Whimsey for their 10 oz roving samplers  or like BenzieBazaar uses for her felt assortments.  (Both of these products are wonderful wool, by the way.  I've been using them to make some funky faux warring states beads to put on my Pandora bracelet.  More on that later - no photos yet.)  This is something that I have really wanted to do for a long time but couldn't because I was limited by the fact that Etsy only allows 5 photos and I will need at least 4 extra photos as color cards - maybe more.

 So I have a growing list of changes and improvements to make in my ArtFire shop and some serious thinking to do about how to encourage my former customers to shop there now that I have left Etsy.

I've also been thinking about color - I really need a pale purple dragonfly color.  Sadly, Amethyst is the only transparent purple I can get my hands on and it is DARK!   I'll probably be doing some creative mixing and testing in the next few weeks.

I have some fun photos to upload of new projects I've been working on - my boy and his new hat and a few other things but right now I have to go tend to a new batch of alchemy scarves.   Maybe by Friday I will be ready to post again.

Closing Up my Etsy shop

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It started with growing frustration with the same items and same sellers featured on the front page over and over again.  It escalated with a low but growing level of discomfort with the tone of admin in the forums and more & more underground reports of  previously successful sellers being shut down for arbitrary reasons after publicly complaining about a problem with Etsy.

It got really bad when my sales tanked this April - worse when after weeks of rude Admins insisting that there had been NO CHANGES so we were ALL IMAGINING the drop in our exposure and sales, news of a top-secret change in search function came to light.

Then the Etsy Hacks stopped working.  (Etsy Hacks were these wonderful little tools that allowed for quick re-listing of sold items, searching prior sales, managing inventory and just generally tracking all sorts of crucial business information that was impossible to do without them.)  They were created by a non-Etsy engineer who was later hired by Etsy to make the whole site function better but the only thing that has happened is that Etsy has managed to disable all of his original tools and has completely failed to institute replacements.

Then they changed the page width and lay-out, obscuring seller information in favor of the "Etsy Brand."  They also have failed to implement any changes to protect sellers from scammers, evil games from bitter competitors and non-paying buyers.  They also fail to prevent re-sellers from taking over top search categories and have actually been been featuring them on the front Page more and more recently.
In the midst of this, they spent the  time and energy to produce an embarrassingly adolescent ad for  new coders.  This was a real "help wanted" video.  I kid you not. 

And now they have rolled out a tax tool that will basically make it impossible for sellers in several states to actually OBEY the TAX LAWS!!!

I am so totally done with Etsy.  My shop will be in permanent vacation mode beginning today.
Maybe I'll consider coming back if they fix search, bring back the Etsy hacks, create a tax tool that won't put NYS sellers at risk of audits and tremendous fines, begin to enforce their TOU in a fair and uniform manner and hire some admin who treat honest sellers with some respect.

In the meantime, you can see my supplies and sparklies over at ArtFire - right there in my sidebar.  They SHOW how much they value their sellers in so very many ways.  I'l write about that someday soon but right now, I need to go dye some Alchemy scarves and work on a Gorgeous little Purse/Tarot Card envelope.

A Good Visiting Teaching Experience

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Relief SocietyImage via Wikipedia

I am not a great Visiting Teacher.  In fact, most of the time I'm not even a good Visiting Teacher.   I've often grumbled in the past that I haven't really had many good Visiting Teaching experiences-either as the sister being visited or the one doing the visiting.  But from time to time I am reminded that I need to get over myself and recognize and celebrate the strength & service in the Sisterhood of my little branch.

Last year, one of the sisters I was assigned to Visit Teach had to have major spinal surgery.   If she survived the surgery, she would be completely unable to care for her home and family for a number of months.  She would not be able to be alone with her small baby for many weeks because she wasn't allowed to lift anything or even bend over.  My companion and I took on the task of finding day help for her once her family had done all that they could to help by making several long distance visits.  We had a LOT of dates on the calendar that needed to be filled.  I was very intimidated when I sent my little calendar around the room on a Sunday in Relief Society and asked for sisters to check their schedules and see if they had any time they could offer to help care for this sister.  I was sure that my companion and I would be spending a lot of time with this particular calling in the next 6 weeks.

When the calendar came back to me, there were ONLY 3 dates left for us.  I almost felt cheated!  I was so proud of my sisters for really stepping up to the plate - or altar - and making that sacrifice to care for one another.  I was so glad that everyone was willing to show their love and I felt humbled to be able to help co-ordinate that care and service.

Several times in the past few months when everything was in shambles because of our crazy housing situation, and always when I felt I had reached the end of my rope, I woke up to hear my Visiting Teacher driving in to drop off a ready made meal  for the evening.  One small thing I didn't have to worry about that day - just that one small thing that relieved enough pressure to allow me to stand up and take a big breath and move forward.

I had another great Visiting Teaching experience this week.  I had one of The Crappiest days of my life this week which culminated in our receiving the news that my dear friend's mom passed away that day, very unexpectedly while my friend was 18 hours away on vacation.  This friend also lost both her dad and her Father-in-law earlier this summer to long and grueling illnesses and this last blow has just about shattered everyone. 

I went to work on Thursday feeling incredibly fragile and small and helpless.   I warned my co-workers "If I cry, it's not your fault!"  Then my new Visiting Teacher stopped by with a small gift for me for the new house - a small, framed Greg Olson print of the Savior.  So I cried.  She hugged me.  I felt slightly less pitiful and helpless.  It was exactly what Visiting Teaching is supposed to be about.

teach themImage by brittany soucy via FlickrToday, I've been working with my friend's Visiting Teachers to co-ordinate a meal for the family after her mom's funeral.   Again, I'm encountering lots of sisters who are eager to help, to make food, to deliver food, to help with whatever they can help with.  No complaining.  No excuses.  Just lots of "Let me know if there's anything else I can do!"

How do people live without this?   Most people think they have friends.  Many people even have friends who want to help when there is a crisis, but where else do you find a circle of sisters like this - who give and give and give again even when their lives are busy and hectic?   Only here, I think.  In Relief Society.
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2010 Relief Society Canoe Outing

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Last Saturday, my mother-in-law, our District Relief Society President, organized a Canoe Outing at Church Pond for the women of the district.  Lots of people were skeptical about how well attended such an event would be, as our women's group had never done anything like this before so mom was stressed about the whole thing for weeks - no, months - before hand.
Happily, it was a beautiful day and almost all of the women who indicated interest were able to attend.  I took a few photos - mostly of trees and water since it is pretty hard to get photos of people when they are 400 feet away in a canoe.  I did get some great photos of everyone rafted up as Bry gave some basic paddling instruction.
You can see the rest of the photos here in my box.  If you were there that day, feel free to download them, share them with friends and family, etc . . .

P.S.  If you have photos of the day that you would like to put in the box with mine, drop me a line with your e-mail address and I will send you a collaborator link to the folder.  Box.net is so awesome that way.


10:16 AM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I haven't posted in ages.  The last few weeks have been crazy.  Bry was in charge of Young Men's camp for our district a couple of weeks ago and Molly was away at Young Women's camp.  I had been looking forward to a week off from construction to play in my new studio.  I was going to have a bead party and make Ugly Dolls with Maxx and everything.  But somehow the week just got eaten up with all kinds of stupidity and I had almost no time to create or clean or construct.  It turns out that it is a really BAD idea to run YM and YW camp at the same time when your district is really small. 

Sometime during that week, my gorgeous, guilty plastic beads arrived from China.  I think I might be addicted.  I also got some new, fun brass bead caps.  No photos yet.

Then last week was work week at his parent's home which is a fun and worthy tradition with all of the cousins clambering around and playing and fighting and having a grand time.  It's a great tradition - when it doesn't happen immediately after everyone returns home from camp.  By this Sunday, I was so wiped out that I couldn't manage Church.  I literally stayed in bed all day.  I did do some embroidery of a scissors case I've been pretending to make for 4 years.  That was fun.

This week, the men tore the roof off the back part of my house and they have been climbing around up there above my studio every waking hour.  It is wonderful.  They have accomplished so much - Tuesday the old roof came off.  Wednesday the lumber came and the old rafters came off.  Yesterday the built and installed all of the new rafters.  Today they are working on the decking and maybe even the tin.  We might have the roof done before school after all!

I have some wholesale orders to attend to and some small Etsy orders as well as cleaning, priming, painting.  My Molly is visiting her aunt Molly & family in Wisconson so I have no talented helper today to work on enamel or painting.   We miss her.  

I should run and get some work done!  I'll post some photos of actual work soon.
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