Time for a refresh

Update time!

Vacations get me all fired up to be creative, but alas, during the last week of my holiday I fell and sprained my thumb.  Sigh.  It is, of course, the thumb on my dominant hand.  I’ve been getting very antsy about not doing anything creative, but I have come to realize that maybe I need to turn my thoughts to what I can do, rather than focus on what I can’t.  I decided this week that it was time for a bit of a website overhaul, and so it has begun.  You won’t find any “construction zone” blank pages – I’ll just start making little changes here and there.

Please let me know your thoughts on the changes, and especially let me know if something isn’t working.  Hopefully this will be a fairly smooth transition.

Thanks for all your support!  Here is a picture of Smudge helping me needle felt (which I can do for short amounts of time).

Sometimes my brain doesn’t work

Non-arty content ahead…

Sometimes when I’m preparing for a trip, I do silly things.  The packing for this trip to Italy was no exception. One of the items I bring with me is a small adapter to plug my camera’s USB cable into my iPad so that I can edit and post pictures. Apparently a vintage phone cable looks similar to the adapter cable. Sigh. So I don’t have a lot of pictures to share, as I forget to use my phone for pictures. Hopefully I’ll track down one of the connectors, but until then here are a few pictures of the ground floor of the place we’re staying in Naples.

Entry

It’s an unusual place.  When our cabbie dropped us off, it was across the street at a fairly posh place (similar name) – that wasn’t where we had booked. One of the hotel guys walked us over to where we would be staying, and there was a little culture shock at the entrance. It’s a wonderful, crumbly old place, that gives no indication of what the B&B we’re staying at is like.  The B&B is modern, clean and lovely and we’re all very content. The elevator takes one person at a time, but yay – there’s an elevator!

More pictures to follow if I either find a cable or remember to use my phone.  Ciao!

Lovely arches everywhere
More arches
Pleasing doorway

Sometimes it’s the little things…

…that provide a whole lot of joy. In this case it is the feeling of accomplishment. I have finally opened my Etsy shop! [insert me doing a happy dance here] Secondly, thanks to lovely family and friends (who move quickly – thanks guys!), I have made my first two sales.  At this time there is only jewellery, but needle felted items will be added soon.

Look – it’s my site!!

One of the mental barriers I’ve faced (real or imagined) while setting up shop was the issue of mailing items out. Canada Post has a great section on their website regarding sizes/weights/pricing, but it thoroughly overwhelmed me.  Based on an Etsy recommendation I went to the post office with a mock-up of what I would be sending out. The woman who assisted me was incredible. She walked me through a variety of different sending scenarios, and helped me come up with a plan. I’m still not 100% confident – I’d put myself more at 32%, but it’s better than it was.

Today I sent off my first package. The woman at Canada Post decided it was letter mail (she needs to be there every time I send something!) which equals MUCH cheaper shipping costs. During the test run it was a bit of a judgment call as to whether the package was letter mail or not, so I tried to minimize packaging as much as possible, while still keeping it attractive. I have now learned how easy it is to refund excess shipping fees to the purchaser, and I’m feeling great. [insert another happy dance here]

There’s still a lot to learn and do – I found some flaws in the packaging (items always look different when I pack them only in my mind), so I want to figure that out and then prep so packages are easy to assemble.  I’d also like to keep improving my Etsy site with more images in the “About” section and strengthening some of the descriptions.  I have to tell you though, I feel such an incredible lifting of the spirit to have finally gotten motivated enough to take the chance and press the “go live” button, ready or not. I can spend far too long inside my head trying to sort out the best way to do things, but in this case I think it was better to just do them and iron out details as needed.

Thank you to everybody who has been so encouraging and supportive and not nearly as nagging as you could have been – I appreciate you all!

Live Long and Prosper

The Enterprise
The Enterprise

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Have you ever heard of Vulcan, Alberta? I’m sure many people haven’t, but we decided to stop in for a dose of science fiction fabulousness at the end of our road trip. Here is a quote from the City of Vulcan website:

Contrary to what popular culture might lead you to believe, the Town of Vulcan did not get its name from science fiction. In 1910 a CPR surveyor, who had a fondness for Roman Mythology, named the town after the Roman god of fire. Originally all the streets in Vulcan were named after the gods and goddesses of the classical world such as Juno, Mars and Jupiter.

In the Star Trek television and feature film series Vulcan is the name of the homeworld of Spock and his fellow Vulcans. Capitalizing on this coincidence, the town has become a worldwide known tourist attraction with the building of Star Trek themed tourist centre and replica of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek V.

Trek Station
Trek Station

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I wouldn’t say that I’m a Trekkie (or whatever the politically appropriate designation is these days), but I described myself as “Trekkie-lite” to the nice woman at the post office who found us and our enthusiasm for Spock a little peculiar.

Canada Post
Canada Post

All I know is that I walked through the town with a huge smile on my face.  There may have also been a bit of jumping up and down plus a whole lot of giggling.

Unexpected murals were found around corners, paintings of characters were on windows (we had just missed Vul-Con by a few days), and even the pedestrian crossings has Star Trek logos painted on them.

Here are some pictures – some are quite poor quality due to reflections, but I think you’ll get a feel for the town.  I’ll do a separate post on art related findings.

Me in a signed Captain's chair - photo by Bo (thanks!)
Me in a signed Captain’s chair – photo by Bo (thanks!)

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Proprietor, Sole Proprietor

Okay, that heading isn’t quite as catchy as Bond, James Bond, but it is very exciting to me!

I’m happy to say that I have made progress in my goal to set up a small business. I find this sort of thing a bit tricky – all the forms and the figuring out what I need to do – but I have to say, the BC Provincial Government site OneStop BC Business Registry made life so much easier.  I was able to figure out what I needed to register for, and then register from the site.  The site gives lots of links to helpful publications, and I feel confident that I have completed everything that I need to run my own small business.  Yay!!

Now I’m dealing with the detail stuff – business cards, packaging and stamps.  The business cards are done, and I’m really happy with them. I had them printed by Moo and the quality is lovely.  Packaging has proved to be a little trickier, as I’m trying to find something fairly flat and sturdy for mailing (to keep postal costs low) but available from Canada.  The stamps are very exciting, but I have to learn how to use them.  I now have a .925 metal stamp, and somewhere in the Canada Post system is a metal stamp with my initials – should be here next week (I keep wanting to say “Yay!”).  Now I can finish off my jewellery in a more professional fashion, having identified it as sterling silver and made by me.  And the yays just keep coming!

Twisty Tree Artworks business cards
Twisty Tree Artworks business cards

Once the stamp arrives, it’ll be studio time… So looking forward to it!

I know what you’re expecting, and I don’t want to disappoint… Yay!!