I’m not really sure if I’m up to the upkeep of this blog, the upkeep of my better blog (knittinghands.blogspot.com) and the upkeep of an Etsy shop.  I have, scratch that, had good intentions of keeping this one going and updating it with non crafty related things, but as you can see, I’m failing this course.

I might try again… soon… so please do keep checking back because I might have something awesome to post.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll

If making a decision (any decision) is hard for you, please raise your hand. Anyone? Am I all alone here? As I’ve grown up and sat in adulthood for a while, I’ve noticed something. Making decisions is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most decisions are based around money, or so it seems in my case. “Do I buy those shoes that will surely get me a promotion?”, “Do we buy the expensive grill that might last a while or the cheaper one that we’ll have to replace in a year?” “Do I blow my savings account on a trip to Nova Scotia and have a ton of fun doing it or do I play the responsible game and save it because rainy days may soon be around the corner?”. See, all hard decisions.

The result of these difficult decision making times will be three days off of work this week. It’s spring break here in NW Arkansas and while it’s been a few years since I’ve called myself a student, I still like to take some time off to enjoy whatever spring break brings. A couple of years ago, it brought a trip to Gatlinburg, TN. Last year it was camping at Roaring River with a grand finale shopping at every outlet mall/center Branson, MO has to offer (we found some killer deals). This year it will be spent organizing my closet (i.e. yarn collection), planting my herb garden, hanging out in the garden center at Lowes, doing some crafting, playing the bassoon, and learning how to make Risotto. I have to say, I’m really looking forward to my spring break. It includes tons of things that don’t require a ton of decisions based around money… except for the trip to Lowes. I’ll leave the wallet in the car!

I’ve played bassoon since I was 12 years old and in 7th grade, wait, scratch that. I played bassoon starting when I was 12 years old and in 7th grade and had to abandon it at the tender age of 23 when I graduated. That was almost 4 years ago. I have not played since. To say I “played” it might be a bit of an understatement. It was pretty much everything I did.

Band was everything to me in high school. All of my friends were in band, my favorite memories were from band, my first boyfriend (and 2nd) – you guessed it, from band. I went on to major in music at the University of Texas at Austin. I started out in Music Studies (future band director) and later changed to a BA in Music with an emphasis in Musicology (future college professor). I continued to play the bassoon throughout the entire 5 years that made of my time in college.

You could say that I was a band nerd and the bassoon was more than a hobby, but a way of life. While at UT, I had the opportunity to play on a bassoon far more expensive than I would ever be able to afford. Why buy one when I had that one? There was no need, I would always have that one.

Always just as long as always ended when I graduated. I’ve since been without a bassoon and have not touched my lips to a reed since May 2004. I’ve looked into purchasing one, but without financing, it wasn’t an option. You see, a good bassoon starts around $5,000 for a student model. The one I played on in school was around $18,000. I had resigned to the fact that I would simply have to go back to playing piano, a bassoon was not in my future.

I have recently been giving the opportunity to purchase a bassoon (thanks Mom!) and have been shopping feverishly. I must get the right one, affordable, yet of good quality. The good ones are hard to catch when they are for sale unless you want to buy new and I’m interested in used. I’ve found a few I’m going to look into further and I hope to have one within a few weeks.

This really is a dream come true – owning my own bassoon.

When R and I rented the house we’re in now, we rented it along with a garage that had work benches, electricity, windows, and place to stow things.  I was stoked.  I had been wanting space for a gardening bench and R wanted some space of his own to do some work as well.

That didn’t last long.  Our landlord had evil intentions of tearing it down and building some boring house pretty much on top of us.  Since that point in my renting life, I have been longing for work space to call my own.  I found new space for gardening, so that was solved, but I didn’t have work space with electricity and room for messes.  I’ve needed to remedy that.

A couple of years ago, a property with two houses went up for sale out near the family farm.  One of the houses was the original store in that community (Habberton) and had since been converted into a three bed/1 bath house.  The other house is pretty old and has always been a house.  It’s on an acre of land and could not be more perfect.  Problem was, it was WAY out of my budget.  So, it sat on the market, and sat, and sat.  Perhaps it was waiting for R and I to be in the right place to make a purchase?

While browsing the housing market recently, I noticed the price on it had dropped, significantly.  It was now resting in our budget – 2 houses, 1 acre of land, in our budget.  Is this possible?  I’ve gone to look at it twice and will be taking R out tomorrow to see it.  It has some work to do but the main house is quite livable and the old store would make perfect studio space.  In fact, you could carve a few studios out of it and even have room for a store front.  I’m quite giddy with the potential and hope that R doesn’t hate it, if he does, I’ve got some persuading to do.  I can’t let this one pass me up.

It’s funny how we seem to blog about things that are spectacular or things that really get on our last nerve and ride it into the sunset.  If I could change that, I would, but I can’t, so I won’t.

I’ve run into about 3 minor irritations today while shopping for a bassoon.  Yes, I’m shopping for a bassoon. I shall list the below for your reading pleasure:

1.  Bassoon.org runs some classifieds both for people selling and people looking for bassoons.  It’s a great listing of some really great instruments (mind you, some cost as much as a small house, but still, a good resource).  I found a few that fell in my price range (a small used car instead of a small house).  I emailed the posters and waited patiently.  The first reply I got “Sorry, this sold a few months ago”.  Hello?  Months ago??  Do we not practice good classified etiquette in the world of bassooning?  If our house sold would we not take down the for sale sign in the yard?  Same rules apply to this, take your listing down please.

2.  Same set up as before, bassoon.org, a few emails, waiting patiently (remember that story?).  This one replied with pictures.  Yay, I’m excited, BUT wait, upon closer inspection, this instrument does not have the high D key that the listing said it did.  Is this some lucky person who stumbled upon a bassoon at an auction?  Perhaps their grandmother was a bassoonist and passed away so they are left to have to get rid of this instrument.  After they did a bit of research, they realized the high D key adds a bit of value to their new found item to sell.  Assuming bassoonists don’t know any better, they list it with “high D key” in the ad.   Thanks, but I’m not that stupid.

3.  Not the same situation as before.  This bassoon I found on a website selling used instruments.  Well, okay, same situation as before, the bassoon has sold.  Again, do we not remove these things from your “for sale” section?  Are you offering a rain-check with that “we don’t have this item to sell”?

Of course, buying a bassoon is nothing something you just decide to do and, bam, it’s done.  It takes time, lots of shopping, lots of emails with information and pictures.  I understand that, but I can’t get the process going if people can’t have accurate and up to date listings!

*steps off soapbox*

I am sick and tired of deciding that tomorrow is going to be different.  That tomorrow I’m going to shove my head in a bag of veggies and only eat those.  That tomorrow I’m going to head to a gym and not come back out until I’ve lost the weight/toned the muscle/gained a healthy lifestyle.  I am sick and tired of having the good Erin vs. bad Erin playing in my head at all times.

Mostly I’m tired of being sick.

I’ve caught another bug this week.  I’m not quite sure why I’m catching bug after bug, but I am betting it has to do with the fact that I’m just not as fit as I used to be.  I’m no slug, but I’m also not the active healthy eater that moved to Arkansas.

That will change.  I’m not fooling myself this time.  That will change.

I’ve been doing Weight Watchers FOREVER and while I know it works and it has worked for me in the past, it’s not the only thing I need right now.  I need some activity and it seems I need forced activity.  I won’t voluntarily jump up and take a run around the blog.  I need someone in front of me telling me to do this and to do that and I need a group of people making me go with them to do this and do that.

That activity is Jazzercise and that group is some ladies from work.  Laugh, if you must, but it’s worked for a few people I know.  It’s high activity and if I combine that with the healthy eating that Weight Watchers has taught me, then I know I can get healthy.  My pants will be to big for me, I’ll be able to pull out my favorite pair of jeans (a pair of Lucky Brand jeans I found at Buffalo Exchange in Austin for $13!) and wear them, without squeezing.  I want to get back to that.

I will get back to that.

We must take a moment to congratulate The NY Giants on one GREAT game. I went in to tonight not really caring who won and honestly thinking the Patriots were going to smoke the Giants on a stick for dinner BUT I was a bit wrong. Good job boys, good job (and that without Mr. Tiki Barber).

I must say that even though some pretty good football was played, some even better commercials were aired. My favorite advertiser this year was eTrade closely followed by Bud Light/Budweiser… oh, and Audi at number three. If you were a good crafter and didn’t watch the festivities, then you can catch the commercial highlights here:


and the follow up

I’d look for my other favorites, but the baby just can’t be followed up. Goodnight all.

I do believe I am the princess, if not the queen, of starting a project and ignoring it – forgetting I ever started it in the first place. I’ve done it as far back as I can remember. I used to start very intricate Lego houses only to quit putting them together before I even got to the 2nd story… I used to get all of my art supplies out and situated just so before I decided that I’d rather go create some interesting concoction in the kitchen… I still buy tons of stuff on clearance at the craft store only to give it away or Freecyle that stuff later to get it out of my life. I won’t let that happen to this blog.

Some time ago, April or May of 2001, I started a blog at http://www.ehwin.com. It spanned over the time of my final years of college, my time in Longhorn Band, and the tedious end of one relationship and the entire span of another. It even stretched into the beginning of my life in Arkansas, my job at Walton Arts Center, and the beginning of the wonderful relationship I’m in now. Sometimes I posted daily, sometimes I forgot the blog was there, but in the end, it is a good diary of sorts.

I have spent much of today cleaning and organizing the upstairs of our house. I came across the blog (I printed it out before I decided not to pay for the ehwin.com domain anymore). I read just a few pages of it, but that was enough. I will NOT ignore this blog. I will not have years of my life forgotten because I was too lazy to take the time to write about it.

I have a blog over at knittinghands.blogspot.com. I only started that one because I couldn’t post an Etsy mini at this blog. However, I’ve kept up with it and it has turned into my crafting blog (well, crafting, cooking and gardening, but mostly crafting). I really like that blog as it is a good promotional tool for my Etsy shop, but not so much a diary of my daily life. This one will be.

I’m crossing my fingers that I have so much more in my life to write about than just crafting and that there will be some substance to what I have to say here. I’m sure there will be, I’m always finding things to do and things to chat about. For instance, since I last posted here, Christmas has come and gone, 2008 has began, and I’ve interviewed for a job that would challenge me, allow me to learn new things, gain new experiences on my career path and double my salary. Yes, double. I really hope I get it. I would love to work for that organization, for the people I would report to, and with the people that are already there. And I’m not going to lie, double my salary would be completely helpful at this point in my life. However, if I do not get it, I’m sure life will go on and I will still have plenty to blog about.

So, please, if you have been checking in on this blog, continue to do so. I promise I won’t be ignoring it and I promise to keep it separate from my crafting endeavors (unless I just HAVE to talk about something related to Etsy).

Hey Dianna – this post’s for you- well, I’m posting because you made me feel like a WordPress slacker.

I’ve always been one to try and do way too much at once.  I’m never happy JUST working, or JUST going to school, or JUST this and JUST that, I have to be doing JUST what I need to… and this, and that, and this as well.  I think all of that has finally caught up with me this week.
Last weekend was my 2nd craft fair.  It was two 12 hour days (and the first day started off at a seminar at work, and as great as that was, it really started a long day).  I had spent all week before the fair getting ready – making bracelets, scarves, packaging, and designing my set up for the fair.  Then the long weekend of the fair, then a wedding, and then back to work for a long week at work.
On Tuesday, I spent the day in a retreat with some coworkers.  That’s when I crashed.  After lunch I began develop a migraine.  I haven’t had one since Jr. High (don’t know exactly what caused one then, I’m sure I was in too many clubs or involved in too much drama or something like that – it was stressful when I was 15).  I went home early, laid in bed, was sick as a dog, took a nap, and woke up better… tired but better.  I’ve been tired ever since.  Sure, I could come home from my walk after work and sleep, but that wouldn’t allow me time to do everything that has to be done!!!  There is laundry to do, beads to craft with, scarflettes to knit, and gardens to make ready for winter.  I suppose I can look forward to Thanksgiving break for time to wind down.

I need a nap.

But before I take a nap – I need to go update knittinghands.blogspot.com  *grins*

Months ago I was pointed in the direction of Etsy.com. It’s a on-line home for many crafters and artists to sell their stuff, chat with each other, and spend hours upon hours browsing some amazing things.

Up until yesterday, I had only used it for some occasional window shopping. Last night I decided it was time to post the hand knit bracelets I made up for the Clothesline Fair (I sold a few, but did come home with some as well). I do have another fair coming up, but I can make some more before then, if these will sell in the meantime, then I am more than happy to pack them up and send them off.

As with all on-line communities, there is an Etsy forum. I found someone who has started a thread titled “30 Days to a better Etsy”. Each day she is assigning a task to the readers of her thread helping us all have a better Etsy store. Yesterday was day one and the task was to come up with a list of short term (one month) Etsy goals and long term Etsy goals. While I could have very easily written this down on a post it, I thought if I actually blogged about it, perhaps it will mean more and I’ll try and reach those goals.

Short Term Goals (October):
1. Follow “30 Days to a better Etsy” forum thread every day and actually do what is recommended.
2. Sell at least 4 items (2 down, not a bad start)
3. Post all bracelets and scarves by Oct. 31 with 10 new items from my stock today (probably bracelets).
4. Promote Etsy to my Myspace and WordPress accounts – more often on Myspace than WordPress.
5. Post on Etsy forums daily to keep my shop name on the threads and in peoples minds.
6. Pass out Idyll Hands business cards to friends and promote the site as a good place for Christmas gifts.

Long Term Goals
1. To create a monthly income with sales (even if it’s small, I’ll take $20/month to make it worth my time and energy for now)
2. Create 4 new items to have for sale on my Etsy site.
3. Create Etsy banner to reflect the theme of my store.
4. Add 8 new items each month.

I think these are good goals to start with. I might be clever and come up with a few more, but I am not making a second job out of this and want to have fun with it for now – so we’ll leave it at that.

And because I could not end this post without my shameless plug:

idyllhands.etsy.com