Monday Notes 28/09/20

Photo by Loverna Journey on Unsplash

It’s been a low-key miserable couple of weeks for everyone it seems. So, instead of moaning and boring everyone, I’m going to take stock of some good stuff from the last couple of weeks!

I’ve bought myself a new coat – the first one in several years. And it means I can stop wearing my daughters’ old school coat!

While this weeks food shop has been a nightmare (no delivery slots with usual supermarket and no toilet roll…seriously, again people?) I do have food in the house.

Not done a lot of creative work but I have managed to do some forward planning with budgets and meal plans.

I’ve done some drawing and found an evening class I fancy doing next year!

Watched a couple of great films, The Devil All the Time and Enola Holmes. Both live up to their hype 🙂

Started (and almost finished) my Christmas shopping…..taking stock or counting your blessing if you like, is a mood booster. I think for the next few weeks at least I’m going to do a bit more of that and spend less time on Twitter where there is so much negativity and nastiness at the minute.

Hope everyone has a good week x

Monday Notes #4

“Simplify, simplify”- Henry David Thoreau

Last week I got completely lost in planning, overthinking, and seeing way beyond the big picture. I was surrounded by spreadsheets, business plans, and post it notes. My Facebook feed was full of ads for making money with a single FB post, branding coaches, Instagram coaches, easy money coaches, how to sell anything quickly coaches. It was exhausting to look at and I realised I’d let my imagination run away with me but down a different path than I wanted to go. It’s so easy to get caught up in what these ads promise you. But then I remembered the only people getting rich from The Secret are the people selling it to you. Some of these ads felt like The Secret hysteria was happening all over again!

So this week I’m reining it all in. Going to stop planning the big stuff and crack on with the little stuff – the bread and butter stuff. Have a simpler week. That’s my intention this week.

Lainey x

A Creative Exercise

I’ve been struggling this week to get any creative work done. While not making excuses, it has been quite busy. Did a couple of covering shifts at work though still not sure when I’m going to be properly back, college enrollment for my daughter, and vets trips for the cat. The cat finally had stitches out from his op, cone off and so looks (and probably feels) like a real cat again. No more trips till his annual health next year. Yay!

When sat at the computer to work I was faced with a block. Working with Photoshop feels a bit restrictive compared to having 100 cut outs on the floor that you can play with. I seem to be constantly opening and closing files. Things often look different on the PC than they did in my head! So I spent a fair bit of time looking for images and discovered sites for old pictures and fun PNG’s. I rearranged Pinterest boards and made a definite/more streamlined plan for posting on social media. Lots of procrastinating…

In the end I tried to get out of my head and create just for the sake of it. Starting is the hardest bit but once you start the ideas begin to flow. Sometimes you need to create things without a purpose or plan. Just get stuff out there. You can always edit later if need be. So maybe not a lot of work was done last week but I shifted out of a slump I think.

Lainey x

These images can be downloaded from my Flickr profile and are free to use.

I have some art for sale in my Etsy shop.

For more art and personal stories follow me on Instagram!

Monday Notes #3

Never underestimate the power of baby steps!

Last week I just felt really flat and the thought of concentrating on Etsy/blogging/social media was too taxing. On top of that it was a busy(ish) week. My teen had enrollment for college, I’m looking after a neighbours’ cats, and my cat had a few trips to the vets. He’s had an op and got the dreaded cone of shame on him. I think he’s found it all a bit too much so I’m following him around the house making sure he’s happy and comfortable (Crazy cat lady skill level up!)

So, I was a bit gentle on myself. My thinking was to just get a couple of little bits done on the blog. Instead of setting aside all morning to start that, I decided to just do little bits of housekeeping on it. I exported my first few posts from Blogger. Then I pootled about around the house. While I stopped for a cuppa I tweaked the layout and added a couple of widgets.

That’s the pattern I followed all last week. Several little jobs done over a week suddenly turned into – launching the blog. I was quite impressed as on Monday I wasn’t sure where I would be blogging or even if I was going to blog at all.

So this week. Tomorrow is September. I feel the chill in the air, which I love but I don’t feel the usual rush of excitement I usually get at this time of the year. Maybe it’s Covid. Maybe it’s because I’m not back at work yet or that my daughters new course maybe mostly online and we’ve not bought anything new for her yet. Maybe that’s it. I’ve not bought any new stationary! I think I just need a new notebook 🙂

The plan this week is to do some collage, put a few more listings on Etsy and steadily work on the old socials. Baby steps are powerful little things and while they may not feel like the big strides you want, they’re still moving you forward.

Lainey x

Etsy Diary ~ August

On my last (failed) blog I started an Etsy diary. The idea behind it was to give some form of measurement to the time spent on Etsy. How your time translated into sales and stats. I still think it’s a good idea. Bloggers will always tell you “tricks and tips” – we get advice on tagging, photos, and networking. And we know the more time you spend on Etsy the better. There’s also a lot of unrealistic posts out there, I think. E books and strategies are everywhere and while some tips are great it mostly comes down to grafting.

Obviously some sellers have that “X Factor” a great product/story that just takes off, but the rest of us need to work bloody hard. I’ve never properly applied myself and fully committed to my shop which is why I’ve had thirteen sales in six years!

So, if I put the work in and measure it on a monthly basis, it’s a realistic snapshot of an average store. Someone could read the posts, see the time = sales and see if it’s something they can commit to or not. It’s a real time experiment and not a retrospective “how I gained x amount of sales in x months” interesting though as they can be…I am sure I will blog tips and tricks as well though!

I also need to be realistic about the time I can commit. I won’t be able to build this up quickly. If you’re looking for zero to hero in four months, you need to find another post to read. This will be a slow burn my friend. I’m still on furlough. In a few weeks I’ll (hopefully) be back at work. I need to make sure I can run my shop in my spare time when I go back. I’m part time but circumstances mean I may need to go full time next year – cutting back my hours online even further. Add to that, single mum, ageing cat, house in need of TLC, and menopause – it’s going to get messy. Put the kettle on…

Just as a side note, while I’m writing about Etsy, this might be helpful for any online shop or business I think.

Why Etsy? I’ve had an Etsy account for many years and seen it develop in ways I’ve liked and some ways I haven’t but it’s still my “go to” corner of the internet. I miss circles and treasuries but I still go back for shopping, advice, networking, and inspiration. All the time.

So, to start, August is just a baseline. Shop established in 2014, thirteen sales. Time spent on Etsy this month is none = no sales…lol. No surprise there. I have had a handful of browsers though but nothing worth writing about at the moment.

Once I have a few posts I’m going to list them in chronological order which I’ve seen on a few bloggers/artists do and it’s fascinating to turn up to a well established blog and be able to read through it’s growth.

There you go. Scary and exciting!

Lainey x

Monday Notes #2

***This post was written on/about Blogger before I moved back to WordPress.  ThemeXposure only make themes for Blogger***

4

Hello!
Getting serious autumn vibes this morning in my little corner of the world.  Coming up for September gives us the old “new school year”  feelings.  That curious mix of new beginnings and anxiety/melancholy.  (The melancholy, I think, comes from watching endless moody 80’s music videos as a teen!)
Last week I wanted to play about with my blog and upload some items to Etsy.  The blog took up all of my “me” time.  The layout is from ThemeXpose.com and I picked the free option* – so no support and no lovely tech person doing it for me.  The layout download came with the code and instructions but it was tricky to install and then came all the tweaking…two days later and it was up and running with a few test posts.
Enter Overthinking.  Did I really want a blog? Do I really need one?  I did zero creative work last week, I just faffed about with the blog. Over the last several years I have started (and abandoned) twelve blogs!  The longest ran for a year.  I could make a post about them 😂
It doesn’t help that I want to up my Instagram game.  I’m loving Instagram at the moment. So this week I’m going to focus on “creating” and investigating Instagram and see where the day takes us.
Lainey x
*I’m trying to do as much as possible for free to see how far you can get, and because I have no money, lol!

5 Awesome Vintage Photograph Blogs

 Happy Friday!

It will be no surprise that I love old photographs.  Always on the hunt for vintage images, I’ve come across some great blogs.  Here’s five favourites for  a visual rabbit hole!  Click on the photograph to head to the site.

Have a great weekend x

Taken between 1979 and 1997, Jamie Livingston took a photo a day until he died.  So it’s a sad but fascinating trip.
Shelley Fabares is an American actress and singer with a fantastic Tumblr blog. (It looks as though she runs it but it could be a fan account.) Wonderful vintage images, mostly of movie stars, ads, and singers.
The Rescued Photo.  Vintage photographs with the stories behind them 💗
Photobooth Journal.  Exactly what you’d expect and one the nicest corners of the internet!
Robert E Jackson ~ a massive and “curious” collection of ace photographs.  This picture will forever be one of my favourites!