Etsy Holiday Boot Camp: Week Three

Week One; Week Two; More on Week Two.

It took me a while to ruminate on all this and get it out there – here’s the Week Three checklist.

Consider Custom Items

One of the things I do, ceramics, is an area ripe for custom items (I suppose soap is, too, like if I do a custom scent for someone). However… I’m finding it hard to find custom item love in my heart. I always fear with custom orders that the color of whatever won’t be *exactly* right, or it won’t look *perfectly* like it looks in the customer’s mind. But… I have already done a couple of custom orders, and the people have loved them! So maybe I just need to get over myself and jump in with a couple of items. Test the waters with a couple things I think I can’t possibly go wrong with, and see where that leads me. Cat welcome signs, with the cat painted like your cat, for example.

Checklist of anything you’ve been meaning to do

I’ve been meaning to retake photos of some of the things I put up the first day I was open. I was in such a rush to get a few things up that even though I wasn’t completely happy with the lighting or props in the photos, I uploaded them anyway. Since then I’ve built a lightbox, and I know I can take better, more eye-catching photos. Or at least I hope I can. So that’s on my list, for sure. In fact, the light is rather good today – maybe I should quit typing and get to photo-ing.

Ponder the Six Success Secrets

OK, this one is odd because some of these are things that I see as recurring themes in my life, not just in my work. Grab a beer, if you haven’t already – this gets long.

Be You (Be the you who doesn’t go for perfection, but goes for authenticity and uniqueness.)

Oh, I am nothing if not unique! ELL OH ELL! Lately something has been on my mind, though, and that’s being authentic. Not just to myself, but to my friends; I feel that if I am not honest with them (and I don’t mean in the “do these jeans make me look fat” sense but in the “what’s going on in my heart” sense) then I’m not being a good friend. I’m not being an authentic friend. If they come to me with their troubles, but I don’t go to them, am I being honest with them? Am I being a good friend? Am I being real? If I don’t lean on my friends then I must not have troubles, so I must be perfect. But I’m not perfect. I’m real. By owning my authenticity – by speaking out when I need to, or speaking up for myself when I need to –  I can be a better person, a more honest person, and I can make better and more honest choices – and better and more honest, from-the-heart crafting, will follow.

Trust your compass

When I was on that Artist’s Way kick a few years ago, I really struggled with what my compass was. I still do, I think, to some extent. At the time I thought it was because I found it so hard to choose a compass, to choose something that I was willing to commit to and strive to keep my feet on the path towards [ fill in the blank ]. I think I didn’t want to admit out loud that the thing I wanted to move towards, the thing I wanted to be when I grew up, was as simple as “being happy.” Most people want careers; they want to grow up and be doctors, lawyers, writers, actors, famous, rich. I just only ever wanted to be happy – and yet I’ve found that so hard! It was so hard to be happy because I thought something external, like being defined by a job, would make me happy, and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t happy when I tried to do that. Most other people are happy when defined by their jobs, what’s wrong with me that I’m not? Well, what’s wrong is that I was trying to define myself by the wrong thing. Crafting makes me happy. Is my goal to be happy? Then clearly it means I should be crafting. The hardest to learn was the least complicated, to quote the Indigo Girls.

Embrace the optimist

Pray for help, but row for shore. I always suspect the worst is going to happen, but I dream that the best is going to happen. I’m like a … practical optimist? It’s hard for me to listen to that little whisper of “this’ll work!” when on some level I expect the carpet to be pulled out from underneath my feet. Perhaps that little whisper needs to clear her throat a bit and speak up? Or the ghosts from my childhood need to shut the fuck up?

Surround yourself with love (Surround yourself with the people who are good for your heart, your spirit, your attitude,
your outlook, your optimism, your support, your confidence.)

HELLO LAST FIVE YEARS OF MY LIFE. I have struggled and struggled to get to the point where the people with whom I mostly surround myself are Good People. Non-toxic people. There are people out there in my life who I truly want the best for. I want them to be healthy, happy, and content – but at the same time I can’t spend a lot of time with them because for whatever reason they are not good for my heart. Maybe they drink too much and get a little mean. Maybe they only ever talk about themselves and never ask me how I am or what I need. Maybe they only call me when they want something. It doesn’t mean I don’t want them to be well and safe, but it does mean that I want *my self* to be well and safe and I can better do that by not spending a lot of time with them. Right now I can’t even tell you how fabulous my friends are. I want to bake them all their favorite cupcakes and pour them drinks and laugh long into the night with them because they are all so lovely and genuine and good.

Know what you need and get it

If only I knew what I needed! On one hand there’s the practical – I know I need fragrance oils, soap base, slip, glazes, a new kiln. So I get those things. But there are other things that I need, and my wonderful husband has provided them for me – a place in the house devoted to ceramics, a place devotied to dyeing yarn and making soap, an office of my own. But then add to that a third layer – things I need to be happy. Time. Music. Creative outlets. The ability to stretch my creative wings. And for the first time right now I have all those things.

Enjoy where you are

Oh, trust me – I am!

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