The Word of the Year.

When I started into this world of blogging several years ago, the "word of the year" started to become A THING.  It was everywhere and everyone was choosing one- their identity for the coming year.  If for some reason you've never heard of the word of the year trend, it is the idea that instead of making resolutions at the start of the new year, you pick an inspirational word to guide your actions in the coming months.  It's your theme song, if you will.  People have their word put on wall prints, their computer background, tattoos.  Okay, maybe that's going a little far, but you get the idea.  This word is huge and important and must be chosen very carefully and thoughtfully.

I have never chosen a word of the year.  Like I said yesterday, I prefer to make goals for the new year that are generally realistic and achievable.  I also have this huge fear of choosing something that is going to be my one, main guiding ideal and then life taking a turn and not being able to get where I was hoping to go.  "Where do you see yourself in five years?" is a terrifying question.  How can I even begin to answer that?  To answer questions like that makes me feel trapped to whatever I say, so even picking one word for the whole year seems daunting.

But for some it seems that choosing a single word is more realistic and more streamlined than coming up with a list of goals and resolutions.  I was reading this post from Tiffany Hahn yesterday and was really intrigued by the comments.  Some people have some really inspiring words and some really good reasoning behind them.  (I think "moxie" might be my favorite.)  The problem is, then, I want them all.  I want to relax and nurture myself, I want to be bold and fearless, I want joy and to create.  And moxie- I want moxie.  Maybe I could do a word of the month?

I ask you out there reading this: do you choose a word of the year for yourself?  Why or why not?  How do you go about choosing one thing, if you decide to do a word?  Do you keep it someplace as a reminder, or is it more intrinsic?  I'm really intrigued by this and would love to hear more.

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Progress, Not Perfection: A Look Back at 2014.

As the year slides to a close, I always like to take a quick look back at the goals I've set for myself the previous January.  This year was to be the Year of the Business, with all my goals featured in getting my shop more attention.  I think I did pretty well considering a few of them were pretty abstract:

1. Spend less time in front of the computer. (sub-goal: stop looking at gossip sites.)

Yes, and no.  I have definitely cut gossipy websites from my daily routine.  In the end, I really don't care what celebrities are doing and I would rather spend my time reading posts that are written by real people and driven by real emotion.  However, the computer is still a huge part of my days, to the point where I find that I'm missing out if I'm not constantly checking on things.  And being a small business and working with a team on different projects, I feel like I need to be there to respond quickly.  Plus I do a lot of buy and sell on that Facebook group, which also requires checking.

2.  Find a clear direction for this blog.


I've gotten the blog to a look that I'm comfortable with, but with all the craft shows I was doing in the latter part of the year, I totally fell off the wagon as far as writing goes.  I also was working on blogging on The Nutmeg Collective's blog, so my efforts were spread thin.  I do think I'm working toward a better, more consistent direction for the coming year....that counts, right?

3. Maintain the shop at over 100 items.

YES.  Done.  (Don't look right now.)  Overall I had my shop in between 100-150 items for a good part of the year.  Right now I'm at 94 because I've had to deactivate so much stuff that had sold in person- not a bad problem to have.  Once I go through my current inventory and get photos, I'll be able to bring it back up.

4. Branch out locally.

YES!  I love my team, The Nutmeg Collective.  Without them, I would not have gotten out there like I have this year.  In the past four months, even.  Right now I have inventory in two shops in the state: Hartford Prints! and the B:Hive Swarm Shop.  I did countless and countless shows.  Together we've organized three small events around the holidays.  I had a feature in Hartford Magazine.  I have made real friends and have found so much in the way of advice and local camaraderie.  It is the best.

5. Join a treasury team on Etsy.

Oh.  Well, I applied to a few of the more well-known, fancy treasury teams and didn't get in.  I won't pretend that that didn't sting a little bit but it was also not a total surprise.  What was a total surprise was that Etsy totally changed up the front page of the site and no longer features member-curated treasuries, so even if I had gotten in, it would all be for naught.

6. Improve product photography (again).

I don't feel like I've done much in the way of product photography this year.  I have been selling a lot in person and the shop isn't getting much play as of late.  But, I just got a new little iPad for Christmas and it takes really nice photos, so I'm hoping to work on that more soon.

Not terrible progress, especially since I have a lot going on besides the business.  A lot.  I feel really good about the point I'm at right now, and I'm looking forward to great things in the coming year.

How did you fair on your goals and resolutions for 2014?

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2015 Calendars.

2015 is almost here- can you believe it?  This year has completely flown by!  I've got a recap planned for later in the week, but first- have you got your calendar yet?  I took a peek through a few of my friends' Etsy shops, searched for local-to-me shops, and also hit up some old favorites to see what's new for the coming year.  If you are calendar-less, or still need a gift, here are some options:
Queen Vanna Creations

Gus got one of this perpetual calendars for Christmas (in Sesame Street print, of course).  These are awesome because they never go out of date.  Since there is no year on them, they can be used over and over.  I like it because Gus can physically change the date to see that it is a different number, and hopefully get the concept that each day has its own number.  These wooden calendars can sit on a desk or a shelf or a counter, and they make awesome teacher gifts (this former teacher would have loved one).
RiverDog Prints

Admittedly, I bought this one, too, just because December is my favorite puppy dog.  (It's hard for me to say that without thinking of Molly Shannon's SNL skit.  "I, a-love, a-DAWGS!"  Yes?  Anyone else?)  Anway, this dog-meets-birth-flower calendar comes complete with a small clipboard, making it perfect and easy to hang on an office wall or any other small wall space.  Mine is going in my mudroom- I have a frame that I'm going to put the month in and change it out as the year goes along.
 stationery boutique

How cutie patootie is this set?  Not only do you get a very sleek and modern calendar, but when you're done with the month, the top half comes off to become a post card.  So then you can send some snail mail to a friend you've been thinking of that month, maybe.  Genius.  I love, love all these fun prints.
Pen and Paint

You know how much I love Pen and Paint, and Lindsay does not disappoint with 2015's calendar (plus the cutest little hanger ever).  Each drawing matches perfectly to the month in all its hand-drawn loveliness.

This is not only beautiful, but useful too.  1canoe2 has come up with a reinvented tea towel calendar (remember those ones that used to hang on your Grandma's stove?), which could serve as a wall hanging, but can also be used as a dish towel and is eco-friendly to boot.
freckle paper

Another one that Gus would love- this calendar with a different object of motion on each month, called A Year of Go.  Hangable or frameable, these beautiful watercolor illustrations will keep you smiling all year.

Still looking for a gift for the man in your life?  This very minimalist letterpress desk calendar would be perfect.  Sleek and unobtrusive and set in a wood block, it's both functional and a showpiece.

Here's to a fabulous 2015!  Which one would you choose?

Also, congratulations to Ayla, who won the Favorite Things giveaway!  Your package of goodies is on its way!!

1000 Sales / Favorite Things Giveaway.

It's here, it's here!  Last week I told you that I had hit the big 1000 on Etsy and that today we'd have a giveaway to celebrate!  Woo hoo!  I've gathered up some of my favorite things, plus some goodies from my shop to give to one lucky winner.  In the mix:

A set of 5 printed pencils from Row House 14
Two super strong magnet clips from Queen Vanna Creations
A Carmel Macchiato soy candle from Cottage Wicks
Greeting cards from Print Therapy and Woodward Paper Co.
A felt brooch from My Hideaway
Tazo Awake English breakfast tea
Lint milk chocolate truffles and Caramel Brownie Bar
Black and White post it notes
Plus, a black and white infinity scarf, gray floral reversible headband, fabric basket, and red dot fabric button earrings from Milo and Molly

Good luck to all those enter, and thank you all for making this milestone happen!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


When you open a shop on Etsy, you quickly realize that round number sales goals are huge.  Once you get that first one (followed by jumping and screaming), you want to make it to 10.  Then 100.  And while the in-between numbers totaling in the hundreds are thrilling, a huge goal is 1000 sales.  I have been hoping to make 1000 sales all year and as it got closer, made it one of my year-end goals.

On Wenesday night, I hit the big number.  I am thrilled and humbled by it, and am so happy to be able to do something that makes me so happy and that other people enjoy, too.  January 13, 2011 was the day I opened my shop, so this has been almost four years in the making, and I have learned so much in that time.

This weekend is heavily busy for us- a two-day market this weekend (come see me at Get Baked on Central Street in Windsor if you're local!), dinner with friends Sunday, and a Who-belation celebration at school today- but I have a super, fantastic, awesome, amazing Favorite Things giveaway planned for Monday, so please make sure you come back and check it out.

Also, as things around here slow down a little bit as the holiday season winds down, I'm hoping to come back to this space more, starting with a year-end wrap up and new goals for 2015.  I hope you'll join me.

Happy Friday!!