Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Showers,& Giveaways for Simplifying

I'm still on course to simplify my life. And I'm amazed at how much stuff I've accumulated over the past several years. Things that I swore I'd fix up,use,or get into. Well,thanks in part to some of the Farmgirls who are also thinning out the excess,I've gotten back on track and am giving away patterns here & there to those who want them.
Also putting things up for bid that I never did anything with. A small restart,but it feels great. While I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder,I do have a tendency to be a packrat. (OMG am I mincing words??? *Giggles*) I've also discovered healthy new ways to make sure that anything else I bring home is something I'll want or use-this only works with online auctions but I thought I'd share here. I think the watchlist on any auction site is a wonderful gift. Why? Because it lets you look,look again,and question "do I really want/need that?" Shockingly enough for me,about 98% of the time it's a no,and I delete it off the list. A tiny percent of the time the item goes beyond what it's worth to me. And then there's the times I honestly forget about it & it's over. Which tells me I wasn't interested. This also enables me to get the item I really do want if I spy one. Things I've learned: don't get it just because it's going for waaay less than it's true value........unless you truly want it. Somehow I think this has become a way for a lot of us to feel like we have more than we do in these financially challenging times.
Showers & cool temps continue to bless the area. First time we've had an actual spring in years. Last year this time we were thrown into a terrible summer scorcher & I hid in the house as much as possible until the coolness of Fall came back.
Remember that space for a room to "breathe" in is indeed a valuable and cherished thing to have-so is being able to get to your closet in your bedroom without moving a single item out of the way. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ukulele Gigbags A Success!

That's my personal ukulele gigbag you see there-I used a western themed fabric for the lining as well as a tribute to Grandma Ruthie who was an old time country singer & guitarist-who also played banjo-uke. I'm also making these in various colors & prints & you can see one up for bid here
It's exciting to finally have the pattern & know how to do this myself! I'm planning on making some with crazy quilt fronts,as well as Christmas ones-perfect for giving a gift uke in & using every year for caroling. Knowing me, I'll also make a Fall,Halloween,Yule, & Winter themed ones for myself. Fully padded,velcro closures,just wonderful & so much better than those cheesy black ones!
And-in the luthiery dept.,I finally got up the nerve to work on my own fiddle-I had done a BIN on ebay for a 7/8 fiddle (just under full size,also known as a "ladies violin") and it came with a blank bridge. Well,I invested in a precut or ready made bridge & put it on myself,restrung it and placed a different chinrest on it that suited me better than the one that came with it. It sounds wonderful & is easy to play. I was shocked I could do a "d" scale so readily as the neck is bigger than my 1st fiddle,a 3/4 size. I was playing "joy to the world" on it this morn using clothespins as a mute!
If that wasn't enough,I had also won a vintage Hilo uke that needed new tuners. I got em in the mail yesterday,placed new strings on it & it's the sweetest sounding uke I've ever played. Action is fantastic,nice slender neck,mother of pearl dot inlays,whoever got this new probably paid good money (for the time) for it. While it sports it's fair share of little dings & scratches,it's a gem.
Went to Michaels today as I printed a 20% off your entire purchase coupon & got batting & some notions for more gigbags. I love Michaels,but I really miss the old time "mom & pop" craft stores that used to be all over the south bay here. Each one was very unique and had it's own style. I really miss the old time fabric stores like "Cloth World" in which you could get lost in the vast array of fabric to be had. So now to the ironing board I go to make more wares to place up for bid!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Never let an opportunity get by ya!

That is a crow I got a pic of sitting on top of the street light closest to our house. Now it took me sitting on the porch for a time sipping coffee for this photo op to happen!
I'd like to share something with you that's been on my mind the past few days about not letting an opportunity go or worse,pushing it away. A few months ago I was browsing online sits and I spied a very nicely handcrafted ukulele gigbag. Well made,adorable fabric,I really wanted these in my store. A look at this sellers booth had mandolin gig bags as well-very eye catching.
I wrote this individual introducing myself,telling her about Mandolin Babe's and how much I wanted to have her gig bags in my store,and asked her what would she wholesale them to me for. Well the response I got was paradoxical to say the least. After telling me she is a single parent & needing money for both her and her child,she went into fear mode. First,she was terrified I'd remove her "made by" tags. Then she was afraid I'd buy one & copy the pattern. Then she was afraid that she'd be losing business to me. In short,I was getting a mental picture of her clutching the item to her chest and saying "you can't have it but I need $$ for me & mine!"
I wrote again,telling her what a shame it was that here she is establishing a biz of her own and turning away potential avenues of income-which she stated she needed. I assured her I would not take the tags off nor copy the pattern. After all,she was going to save me a lot of time & effort by making them for me and all I needed to do was take a photo & resell them.
She wrote back,apologetic, but now there was a sudden crisis with a relative-she would get back to me shortly but this now needed all her attention. Well you guessed it-I never heard from her again.
Just this week I was wandering around online shopping again when I found the patterns for the instrument bags she was making-funny thing was I wasn't looking for any patterns-I was just wandering about. So I purchased them and upon receipt,will be making them myself to sell in my store.
But I feel sad for the opportunity that woman shoved away from herself with all her strength. She could have well wound up supplying other music stores too,and the much needed money would be coming in from more than one direction. She could've done craft faires & folk music festivals. But because she was so scared of losing something she wound up losing quite a bit anyway. The reason I'm writing about this is because I know a lot of readers out there are creative & sell their wares online. But should an opportunity like this come your way,don't be afraid that you're going to lose anything. Just set a fair wholesale price & a min order,if need be and watch the prosperity flow your way!