Friday Reflection: Chores

No one really likes to do chores, but I think we all enjoy the results of a clean, tidy home.  I am convinced there are certain chores each person disdains above all others, for me it is mopping (and ironing but mostly mopping).  I HATE mopping.  I would rather clean the toilet than mop.  Mr. Pea isn’t too fond of mopping either so, as a result, our house does not get mopped up very often.

When spring cleaning rolls around, Mr. Pea like to vacuum.  He does a VERY through job of this too.  With two cats in the house he can spend hours vacuuming every nook and cranny.  I usually clean the bathrooms and the kitchen but neither of us touch the mop.

There are times when mopping is unavoidable, like after a New Year’s party and the floor is sticky from spills, but generally those don’t come around all that often.  Today I broke down and mopped the kitchen floor.  The dirt spots where everywhere and I can only take so much.  It didn’t even take me that long, but ugh, I am not expanding into the living room that’s for sure.  Lol!

I am not sure where this hatred of mopping came from.  My mom doesn’t mop all that much either, but she’s never claimed to hate it.  Honestly, I think it’s the fact that you have to sweep first.  Mopping seems redundant after you’ve swept a floor clean.  Then once you are done mopping you can’t use that room for a while.  For instance, immediately after mopping the kitchen floor I needed to get in there.  You can’t win.

I am happy with the results though! 😉

As an aside, I’ll share a childhood story about chores.

I did not like cleaning my room as a kid and figured out one day how to make it go by faster.  I hid all my clothes, clean or dirty, under my bed or in piles in the side of my closet.  Then I stayed in there playing with toys long enough to make it seem like I had done a good job.  When laundry day would roll around I took all my hidden piles out to be washed, only to throw them back in the closet or under the bed when my mom returned them to me.  I got away with this for maybe a week or two before my mom started questioning why I had so much laundry all the time.  She started seeing clothes she knew she just washed and that I hadn’t worn.  It was then she discovered what I was doing and broke down into tears.  Let me remind you my mom was doing laundry for a family of six!  I felt so bad I had brought my mom to tears.  I didn’t understand how much laundry she was doing for everyone.  I also didn’t understand that she would rather be playing too.  As a punishment, I had to do the laundry that day, for everyone.  She also stood over me and watched me fold and put away my clothes for a good while after that.  I understood why this was such a big deal to her.

Now it is my second nature to fold and put away clothes immediately.  This drives Mr. Pea a little nuts.  He HATES folding about as much as I hate mopping.  Therefore it’s really sweet when he does fold, especially my clothes.  He likes to fold my clothes up as small as possible, so it always makes me laugh when I open a drawer and see a very little stacks of shirts.  That’s love right there!

Happy Friday Everyone!

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Where’s my team of carpenters?!

I am all ready to paint today, so I am going to keep this post brief.  I was thinking this morning about the show Trading Spaces.  What I wouldn’t give to have a team of carpenters outside working on all new furniture and shelving for me right now.  Hehe.  Oh and a designer out there buying up all the things that will pull the room together.  Then I would REALLY be done on Monday!  Sigh, it’s good to day dream.  Have a good day everyone!

How fun is this painting by Carole Johnson?! You can find it here: Ready to Paint, by Carole Johnson.

Progress in the Bedroom!

Haha, sucked you in with the title didn’t I?!  Alas, I am alone and working hard this week to finish up my bedroom project.  To keep me honest I wanted to share some updates and photos.  Everything is now away from the walls and piled either in the middle of the room or just about everywhere else on the second floor.

The cats need a lot of reassurance when they are up there.  Poor things, it’s been an upsetting week for them with their dad gone, mom working, and a whole floor in disarray.  They were REALLY confused when I went to bed in the guest room last night.  I swear they spent half the night trying out different places to sleep themselves.  You can see them both beginning to explore the new kitty maze in the photo below.

You can see how festive the room looks with the blue painters tape going up, as well as the over flow shelves now at the top of the stairs.  Note, I am being safe.  I turned off the electricity to the bedroom and am using the halls power now.  Only had to electrocute myself once to get smart about safety! You can also see I’ve completed scraping and sanding the loose bits of paint.  It’s amazing how much ends up coming off!

I got half way around the room when I ran out of tape. Doh! I have to admit I would have been really upset if I got 95% around the room and then needed more tape for the last 2 feet.

I ran out of tape at almost exactly 5pm, so I called it a night.  Today I worked my second shift at Starbucks from 6am-9:30am, spackled when I got home, and ran to the store to get the rest of my supplies.  That pile of furniture is now covered with a plastic tarp and after this post I’ll be back on tape duty.  Ace hardware didn’t end up having the Gardz primer in stock so I picked up the oil based Kiltz primer that should also seal in the wallpaper paste residue.  (Fingers crossed)  Luckily, they did have the 1-2-3 primer all the paint forums recommended to go on top of that, so I am still on track to start priming tomorrow! =D

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be this far along.  This project that has hung over my head since November and now I will be done with it on Monday!  I swear it will be a looooooong time before I start in on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.  So what do you do to kill the time while your home alone? Haha.

Etsy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As a buyer, especially as a bride, I loved Etsy!  So many creative, one of a kind items, all in one place and from all over the world too; yes please!  Etsy is a bride’s dream come true.  You can find those vintage and hand crafted items that give your wedding a special touch in one place.  It is hard to beat that.  I bought my bridesmaids vintage, collage inspired jewelry from England.  Not only was this jewelry exactly what I was looking for, the owner created a special piece for one of my bridesmaids to complete the collection at no extra cost to me.  I was thrilled to find this shop and felt like Etsy was such a magical place to connect me to this crafter in England!

As a seller, I am starting to become wary of Etsy.  I started selling on Etsy this past February, and have big dreams of turning that little shop into a full-blown website of its own.  I started my shop on Etsy because it was easy, within two minutes I had a business to call my own and a $0 start-up fee!  Doesn’t get much easier than that.  You read through all the articles Etsy publishes and the general promise is you get back what you put in.  Meaning if you take your shop seriously as a business then you will reap the rewards of Etsy, but if you take your shop as a hobby, then that’s all it will ever be.

Behind the scenes, in the forums you start to see the cracks in this promise.  So many discussion threads are based on the question,”why am I not selling?!”  These sellers do everything they are told by Etsy Success and the Seller’s Handbook, yet their views are low and their sells even lower.  As a collective Etsy is generally viewed as one of us, a crafter and lover of all things vintage and homemade.  However, I have come to see them as a corporation that is making bank off the dreamers and the unemployed.

Etsy rakes in millions of dollars every year!  They receive a percentage of every item sold, as does Paypal.  Need I remind you the inventor of Paypal is now playing with cars and rocket ships?  They also receive $0.20 for every listing, and have set up a market that rewards those that renew their listing on a regular basis charge the same $0.20 every time.  Other ways to spend money inside Etsy is to advertise, $7 per Showcase (I still don’t understand what this means), or you could set a weekly allowance to promote your item at the top of the search results only paying when your item is clicked on.  Times all this by millions of items and shops and you get an idea of how much Etsy is bringing in.  (See Etsy Fees.)

I have been told repeatedly this is a slow season for Etsy, but looking at March’s report sells are up 41% from last March and have increased 5.5% from February.  What’s slow about selling over 3 million items with over 1 billion page views?  Etsy takes in 3.5% of all transactions, if they use direct check out they get another 3%, plus listing and advertising fees.  Let that sink in while you look at this number from their March report:

$62.8 million of goods (after refunds and cancellations) were sold by our community in March, 7.7% higher than February’s $58.3 million

Yeah, I no longer think of them as one of us.  By the way, this report is not sent out as part of their newsletter, you have to go searching for it yourself.  Here is what really gets under my sink though, it is stories like how Etsy handled this woman that got suspended for suspected drop-shipping when she shipped her handmade goods from a friend’s house in PA while she was on a military base in another country, Etsy Shop Suspended.  Versus how they’ve handled the recent scandal of Regretsy uncovering a reseller used as Etsy’s Featured Seller.  Instead of suspending the shop that is breaking their #1 rule of selling handmade and taking down the article, she’s still open for business and is being featured on their coveted front page.  While the woman who tweaked a rule to reduce her shipping fees was suspended right away and without notice.

The more I see how Etsy’s admin handles certain situations, the more I am ready to jump ship.  Like this “copyright infringement” story.  I no longer feel like Etsy’s inner workings are on my side.  I think back to the first article I read discouraging me from taking the “easy” route of opening an Etsy shop, Why Etsy Stores are at a Disadvantage, and realize he was right.  I got what I paid for.  I thought I could open my shop and test drive products, but it takes hard work and money even to be seen on Etsy.  You could be putting all that hard work into promoting your own shop, not Etsy itself.

My father is a small business owner and his first bit of advise to me was to advertise on Google.  When I showed him my shop, he immediately retracted his statement.  He said don’t pay for outside adverting when you are bringing your potential customers directly to your competition.  When you pay for advertisements outside of Etsy what you are really doing is paying to promote Etsy’s marketpalce.  To reinforce this sentiment, Etsy has recently changed the search within this shop to feature other seller’s items.  Really Etsy?!  I think it’s time I invested my time and money back into myself.

I can do it!

Mr. Pea is traveling for work this week.  I can’t tell you how quiet it is in the house without him!  While he’s away though, I am going to make a big push to get the bedroom walls ready for painting.  Yes, I am STILL working on my bedroom walls!  I hadn’t touched them since my last post about it back in February. Lol!  Yesterday, however, I finished scraping the last of the wallpaper paste off.

While it feels really good to finally have gotten this far, there is still a ton left to do! Ugh, it never ends.  I start my Starbucks training this afternoon, but before I go in, I plan on scraping and sanding the loose bits of primer.  Tomorrow I will be able to fully prep the room by moving furniture, taking down curtains, and taping everything.  I’m hoping to head to the hardware store and pick up supplies as well.  I work the early morning shift on Wednesday but after that I will make a first pass at sealing the walls with Gardz and filling in spots with spackle.  If that is dry by Thursday then I can take a pass with a primer.

That should have the walls prepped for painting this weekend when Mr. Pea returns.  Yup, don’t think I’m letting him off the hook that easy.  It’s a lot of work, but I am SO excited to get this done!  I do not recommend living in a room while you are trying to redo it.

If you are thinking about removing wallpaper and repainting let me recap all the steps involved:

  1. Watch these videos on YouTube! (I didn’t discover these until I was half way through step 3. I made it harder on myself than need be.)
  2. Remove the top layer, this should be the easy part.  If it’s not, you can get a scoring tool and soak the paper, just be careful not to score into the wall board itself!
  3. Remove the paper backing, and paste. I did this using warm water alone, but there are chemicals or other home remedy additives you can use to help with the stubborn areas.
  4. Scrub the walls.
  5. Scrape and sand any loose or bubbling bits of primer.
  6. Seal in any residual areas of glue, as well as the exposed areas of wall board with Gardz.
  7. Spackle any areas that need it and spot seal when dry.
  8. Prime the walls with a good primer, such as 1-2-3 Prime. Note if you skip the Gardz step, use an oil based primer.  A water based primer can reactive any residual glue and ruin your finish product.
  9. Finish with two coats of paint.

It’s a lot of work, but goes quickly in a small space and takes a while in a larger space.  Now you know why so many people put up new wallpaper over the old stuff!

Friday Reflection: Dating

They really should give waiters photography lessons.

I read a blog post last night about someone’s bad date, and it got me thinking about all the good, the bad, and the ugly that goes into dating.  Lord knows how happy I am that stage of my life is over!  I have tried to figure out which story to share with you guys, but the truth is now that I am writing there is only one man I want to write about.  I am lucky enough to call him my husband!

I resisted dating Dylan at first.  You see I was into boys that weren’t all that into me.  Sure they liked me, but building a relationship with a guy that just likes you is next to impossible.  My younger self, thought this made them a “challenge.”  Ha, I am glad I wised up!  I hit a point in my life where I realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be.  I was living with 2 other girls, a bit younger then me, and still repeating this rather lonely, dead-end relationship pattern when it hit like a ton of bricks one day, it was time to move on!  Don’t get me wrong, my roommates where great, but they were at a different point in their lives and that was ok.

I went on craigslist and found a girl my age renting a room in a very nice apartment, so I took it.  I met her friend, Dylan, just a few days after moving in.  She had been mentioning him to me since we first met.  I was just going downstairs to get my laundry when I heard the bell ring, I knew it was him.  I remember thinking on my way back up the stairs (laundry in tow) “What if this is the guy I am going to marry?  Oh god and here I am doing laundry!”  Haha, we met in the hallway for a whole two minutes and that was it.  That was in fact the first time I ever met my husband!

Well maybe a week later my new roomie took both Dylan and I to her company BBQ, then she promptly left us to fend for ourselves.  Knowing no one else there, we got to spend a good amount of time getting to know each other.  There was even a moment, late in the evening when the moon was out, where we almost shared an alcohol induced kiss but Dylan was not so induced and held back.  He was our designated driver after all.

After that night Dylan started hanging around our house, a LOT!  I quickly decided he was too nice of a guy for me, but we became good friends fast.  Heck, he was practically my third roommate!  Speaking of roommates, Dylan and her had been more like casual acquaintances before I came along, so she was taking this new attention as a sign that he was into her.  Yes, she had originally set out to set us up together, but he was calling her to hang out since he didn’t really know me very well yet.  Let’s just say signals got crossed.

About a month later, I had my wisdom teeth removed (all four of them).  With me on drugs and my face swollen up like a chipmunk’s full of acorns, Dylan came over practically every night with my absolute favorite food in hand, mashed potatoes.  It was then that I started using my drug induced sleepiness as an excuse to curl up next to him.  It was also when we started holding hands under the blanket.  Hehe.  I felt like I was in middle school again, holding hands with a boy in secret!

Roughly, a week later I was leaving for a trip to the UK with my friend, Jenn.  Before I left Dylan and I shared our first kiss.  For the entire trip that was all I could think about!  I knew this guy was going to be different.  When I returned from my trip Dylan and I started dating and he asked me to be his girlfriend MAYBE a week later.  Although, we later decided to celebrate our dating anniversary on the day we went to that company BBQ.  I was thrilled, but my roommate on the other hand was not so pleased.  She had a boyfriend of her own at the time, but she was hurt when we got together.  It was not long before I got a place of my own and not long after that, that we bought a place of our own.

Dylan and I became inseparable very quickly.  He is my best friend and biggest supporter.  Everyday we find we love each other a little more, even when we thought we couldn’t possibly love one another anymore.  I think back on the guys I dated or had a crush on and, even though it hurt at the time, I am so glad none of them worked out.  Life told me when it was time to meet my man, my soul-mate, and I listened.

Online Marketing for Blogs to Blogs

I discovered some very interesting tips on how to submit your work to the big blogs today and want to share my resources with you.  This post goes beyond Etsy sellers and is relevant to other bloggers, or even professionals wanting to get their work published.  The big secret is found in this article from Design Sponge:  Advise from Design Bloggers!  Those Biz Ladies articles offer such a wealth of information.

In a nutshell here are the main points I took away from the article:

  • Email the bloggers directly in a friendly, personal way with great photos under 1MB attached.
  • Do not mass email all of them, pick one blog at a time to go after.  They want the exclusive after all!
  • Do your research, so you can tell them where you think you fit into their blog or why you are relevant to them.

That’s it, the big mystery revealed!  There are other points like don’t approach them if you only have two items in your shop, or only two posts into your blog, but the bullets above capture the essentials.

There are also sites where you can self submit your work, take note they don’t accept Etsy links, so having a blog or other online presence is essential.

Craft Gawker (for the crafty, DIY blogs out there)

Food Gawker (for the food blogs out there)

NOTCOT (covers just about every blogging realm: design, art, fashion, food, travel, cocktails)

Now for you Etsy sellers looking for success tips, READ this post and download the full, expanded 13 page article.  It is a little outdated but worth your time.

Happy Marketing!