Thursday, December 31, 2009

end of the line for 2009


As evidenced above, I am not too old to play with dolls. This is a paper art doll I created with the hand carved paper doll template I made a few days ago. I'm having way too much fun with it!


The last morning of 2009 finds me nestled in bed, laptop on my stomach, browsing the net and listening to the morning news.
It's been a turbulent year. It started off perfectly, with me standing onstage with Toad the Wet Sprocket, popping open a bottle of champagne and wishing them all a happy new year. Definitely an excellent way to begin a year.
After that, though, things got a little more difficult. The main struggle for us has been with finances - trying to get a loan modification so we can keep our home, reeling with disappointment after the company who was supposed to help us with said modification (Green Credit Solutions, who became Guardian Credit Solution before disappearing with a LOT of our money and never getting resolution for us...google them, you'll see lots of stories about people who got burned by them) left us high and dry. Our lender is still working with us, though, and I think we'll be getting this worked out soon.

Then there's the dog training business. I've owned it for about 3 years, and each year I've made less money than the previous. I bought it just as the economy tanked and it's been a source of a lot of heartache and stress ever since. I love the job itself, but trying to run a business in a bad economy, especially when you aren't really a business/marketing type person...yeah, notsomuch. We'll see if things pick up in the new year.

The Etsy business has been good and continues to grow. This year I intend to get my resale license and add more stamping supplies to the shop to go with the stamps I sell. I'll also be adding the choice of clear polymer reproductions of my hand-carved stamp as a quicker, less expensive option for buyers. I think things will continue to go well in that area of my life, and it makes me really happy.

More recent struggles have been my SIL's suicide attempt in September and the fallout surrounding it. She's getting her life together now, and we were really grateful to have spent Christmas with her, rather than grieving her loss. An ongoing family crisis is my husband's father's battle with Alzheimer's. He continues to worsen and we'll be heading up to Northern California to visit next week. That's always stressful and saddening.
Less of a crisis, but still not real fun for me was my fractured nose courtesy of our thick-headed yellow lab, also in September, while my SIL was still in the hospital recovering. What a sight we were, her in bed with tubes sprouting from various locations, me with black eyes and a swollen, crooked nose. I still need surgery to repair it, the two closed reductions (read; breaking and resetting) didn't work. I hoping it'll get approved by our insurance company, otherwise I'm stuck this way for a while. It really bugs me and I'd like for it to be repaired.
So yeah, all in all a fairly rough year - but interspersed with a lot of happy times as well. A couple trips to Cambria, lots of rockhounding, the trip to Florida (okay..not a totally happy time, but still fun), many great moments with my daughter, husband and dogs, some great concerts (Toad,Glen,Gin Blossoms..) and plenty of things that have slipped my mind but still enriched my life. Friends, laughter, art and music.
Here's to this new year being filled with far more joy than pain, success than failure, abundance than need, laughter than tears.
Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

and may I just mention..

Yay!! My shop was mentioned in the blog today at CraftGossip.com! Here's the link to the blog, but check out the site too, it's really cool: http://stamping.craftgossip.com/2009/12/29/shop-sugar-skulls-hand-carved-stamps/! So, that was a nice way to start the day. :)

Pictured above is a mixed-media painting I finished yesterday. I carved the stamp that created the paper doll parts, the rest is painted with acrylics and collaged with a few choice passages from some religious texts (read; propoganda) that were pressed on me by a well-meaning family member. I'm not a religious person, but I do consider myself spiritual and I have a strong set of beliefs. Since I wasn't swayed by booklets claiming to be the one true faith (don't all faiths seem to think they're the only true faith?), I decided to make good use of the paper. Recycle, reuse, reduce. And have a nice day. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy anyway


(photo included for proof of happiness)
Well, it's the day before Christmas and we're broke, but hey...it'll be okay somehow. I'm grateful that we're healthy, that we're still here in our home, that I'm doing the work I love to do. Oh..and yesterday I was told by a client that I look like a teenager!  There's still a lot to be thankful for and hopefully the new year will bring an end to money worries. I don't know specifically how - whether more money will come in, or our cost of living will lessen, or both, I just want life to be free of the constant worry.
I've got a lot to do - the house needs cleaning, the laundry needs to be done, gifts, the few I could manage to get, need wrapping, but I just feel like sitting still for a while.
I'm sure the motivation will kick in soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Sale - BOGO!!


Alrighty folks, it's time to drum up some business. For the month of December, I'm offering a buy one item get the second (of equal or lesser value) free! If there are stamps or other goodies in my shop that you've had your eye on, now's the time to pick them up. Mention the BOGO sale in "message to seller" when you make your purchases, and I'll refund you via Paypal.

And enough of the promotion stuff. I woke up at about 4am worrying about money..for the millionth time. Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I worried about money...I'd never have to worry about money again! Oh wait..maybe I would, because otherwise the dollars would stop coming. Right? I'm not sure. Hmmph. Well no one's offering me a dollar for my worries, so it's a moot issue.
I just sent out emails to everyone who's ever contacted me through my dog training website, letting them know about a special I'm running for the month of December. Let's see if I get any jobs out of it. In past month I've gone and visited all my vets, done a free of charge lesson for a vet tech, spoken to a group of a about 100 pool cleaners (to promote our bite prevention program, since pool guys tend to encounter problem dogs sometimes..and in the hopes of getting some referals), and done a free of charge lesson for a dog rescue employee. She has offered to let me do group puppy training classes there at the shelter...but I haven't heard from her in three days. Not sure what's going on there. I've already called her once and emailed her, I don't want to stalk her. That would have been a really good opportunity. I hope it hasn't fallen through.
Seriously..right now I owe so much money for various business expenses that I'm going to have to go bankrupt in about a month or two if I don't get some work soon. It's gonna be an interesting Christmas. So far I've bought one gift, for my daughter. I've got to get her a few more things somehow.
Come on dog owners...I know you can't all have perfectly behaved dogs.
It's gonna get better. It's gonna get better. It's GOT to get better soon...

Monday, December 7, 2009

lean winter


Well, we're into December now and still no dog training jobs. It's normal for things to be slow around the holidays...but not completely dead. My business bank account is overdrawn, there's nothing I can do about it and no relief in sight. It's crazy. I've done some free of charge work - one session for a technician in a vet office in my area, and one for an animal rescue employee. That one is promising because she wants to refer clients to me and there's a chance I might start doing group puppy training classes there at the shelter. If that works out, it'll at least be some steady work me, and a very good referal source. Still..as things stand right now, the next few paying jobs I get will only serve to help me pay various business-related bills. I'm pretty close to packing it in. If the puppy classes don't pan out, that's probably going to have to be it for the dog training business. It's a shame because it's something I really enjoy, and I'm good at it.
My Etsy shop is plugging along pretty steadily, and that makes me happy. It's still not generating enough income to depend totally on, but I hope to build it up a bit more in 2010.
Meanwhile, it's freeeeezing today! It's raining and I'm wishing for a big bathtub that I could fill with steaming, sudsy water and just soak for a while.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cyber...Tuesday?


I'm extending Cyber Monday in my shop! For today, buy any two items in my shop, get the third (of equal or lesser value) free! Refund will be given via paypal after your purchase is complete. Take a look, several new items have been added, including a few clear polymer stamps!
Meanwhile, life's been busy and still fraught with family drama. Hopefully that will start to mellow out soon.
The dog training business is still struggling to survive, but I did a free lesson for an animal rescue employee yesterday and was invited to the shelter tomorrow to do an assesment on an aggressive dog, and to meet the shelter owner. If I make a good impression, they could be a valuable source of referals for me. Keep your fingers crossed!

About Me

Hippieville, CA, United States
This is the story of life after losing the "real" job and the house, trying to find the middle ground between making a living and actually living.