We’ve survived the first week of January…. I’m assuming you’ve survived, too, if you’re reading this post. Do ghosts communicate via the Internet? I wonder.
I dropped a bombshell on my friends and family ~ many of whom weren’t aware of our situation until this post was published last week. Needless to say, I’ve received e-mails inquiring how we’re doing, whether or not “we’re okay” …along with well-intentioned folks who are sending their thoughts and prayers. Hey, I won’t turn down a helpful prayer, or a free dinner.
I haven’t written everyone back yet. Sorry Mom! I do intend to write and explain a bit better…
But we’re doing fine.
I’m working full-time at the bakery, which doesn’t leave me a lot of “studio time” – but ironically, I was able to finish a painting that I’d started two months ago, before Thanksgiving! Yay!
The female Pilgrim Cat ~ Goodwife Kitty ~ is finally ready for her journey to a New World. Where will she land?
Her male counterpart is still a work-in-progress, but I’m hoping to finish him by the end of this week.
Joe is holding up well, playing Mr. Housewife. He had a few rough patches in the beginning… our 4-year-old daughter and almost 3-year-old son are both going through “stages”. Moody, crying, demanding, destructive, mischievous stages.
Not news to you or me, right? *winking*
The weather has been unusually warm for January, occasionally reaching 60 degrees F, so I’ve taken the kids outside to the park… and Joe has escaped with his camera in search of new photo opportunities.
We added a few photo prints to our new Etsy shop ~ TaraFlyPhotography ~ and when I get a bit more time, I’ll list more. There are plenty more to add!
I’ve been showing him the ins-and-outs of Etsy, but I’m not sure he’s comfortable listing items on his own yet.
I received my new paper from Epson, and it is marvelous! I’m absolutely in love with Cold Press paper… (Hot Press is nice, too!). I recently printed something using my Ultra Premium Presentation paper, previously used for all my reproduction prints, and couldn’t believe how thin it felt in my hands!
I mean, UPPP is thick paper relatively speaking; it’s 192 gsm …versus 120-150 gsm for regular card-stock, 75 gsm for copy paper, and 35 gsm for tissue paper.
GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter, and is the (ISO) international paper industry’s standard for weighing papers of different sizes and thicknesses.
The new fine art papers I’ve purchased weigh a whopping 340 gsm per sheet! No wonder the presentation paper now feels flimsy by comparison.
All of my 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″ and larger prints will now be printed on Cold Press Epson papers, and occasionally Epson’s Hot Press paper (which also weighs in @ 330 gsm).
The ACEO cards, greeting cards, bookmarks, etc. will continue to be printed on Ultra Premium Presentation paper… for now.
I’ve increased the prices slightly in my Etsy shop for the 5″x7″ and 11″x14″ prints, but I’m currently keeping the 8″x10″ prints at $20.00 …. I feel comfortable with those prices at the moment.
(Note: The prices of our photography prints in the new shop are slightly different, and reflect the average market value of photography on Etsy)
In other news, now that Joe is completely on board with me… we’ve been having serious talks about stocking up on supplies, buying a tent and 6′ table(s), and applying to local Farmer’s Markets this spring/summer. I would really like to get out of the house and sell face-to-face this year, as I’ve been wishfully promising to do every year.
I think 2012 will be – The Year – I’ll finally take my next step. Will you join me?
Round like a circle in a spiral,
Like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning
On an ever spinning reel…
…Like a clock whose hands are sweepin’
Past the minutes of its face,
And the world is like an apple Whirling silently in space.
Like the circles that you find In the windmills of your mind.
I’m still here.
Even though my last post was written on December 4th, and I’ve been deleting the Google Reminders each week that warn me about missing blogging deadlines….
I’ve been ignoring my blog… because blogging requires deep thoughts and soul searching, unless written under the influence of Sudafed (which I currently am).
All I’ve been able to manage this month has been random silliness on Facebook, and thanking my Etsy customers with quick notes and quicker (free) shipping.
I haven’t been in the mood to talk… and I’m still not in the mood, but this year is officially over, and I owe it to myself and to anyone reading this blog.
Even you, my flat-screen spam stalker ~ I couldn’t find any buyers for your deflated and dull television sets, but you made me laugh! 5 points for Hufflepuff.
December was marked by major changes for our family. My husband no longer works for his company, and I’ve returned to work full-time to cover our expenses. It was a bittersweet decision, because it meant giving up on one personal dream… but in the last few weeks, we’ve reconnected as a family with Joe playing stay-at-home Dad… and old dreams have grown into new dreams.
I’ll confess that I was jealous of him at the start.
Despite knowing how frustrated and disappointed he felt over this split, because he did love his work (just not his manager, who deserves burning coal in his stocking for firing a husband/father three weeks before Christmas)… I tried to be a supportive and encouraging wife, even seeking advice from managers in my store.
But as he dreaded those final days, I saw them as his chance to find new direction, and build a career that he could take pride in.
I’ve been searching for an escape from working retail, trying to summon the courage to QUIT… but Joe was released instead, and I was captured.
He says that I should be grateful that my managers value me so much. They value me just like an exotic animal that can’t survive in its natural habitat anymore. Put me in a nice, safe cage… feed me… and let the people crowd around, gawking at me all day long.
“Look, Mom, there’s a cake decorator. Does she bite? What does she eat?”
“Cake, dear. Of course, she eats cake. Don’t feed her any.”
And to me,
“Can you put pink zebra stripes on this, and write ‘Happy 10th Birthday Shyanne’.”
This was how I felt in December 2011.
But it’s now the wee hours of January 2012, and my feelings have changed. Last year, my most important New Year’s Resolution was “to keep in mind, and continually work towards, my ultimate goal – to grow this career into a full-time family operated business… so Joe can kiss the soul-devouring, mass-crap-producing Retail Giant good-bye.”
Ironic, eh? Joe certainly kissed his soul-devouring job goodbye; perhaps I jinxed him with that resolution.
However, it was never really about Joe. Or me.
It was about us.
So what if I continue to work outside the home?! Together we can make this work!
Joe was always supportive of my Etsy shop, website, blog, and social networking… of course, the fact I’ve been selling paintings and prints has helped to convince him that I’m not wasting my time at the computer *cough*…
But in these last few weeks, he has been reevaluating and searching himself, while we trimmed the Christmas tree (after I brought it down from the attic by myself)… while we celebrated our 4-year-old daughter’s birthday on Christmas Eve… while trying to patch together my poorly planned gingerbread tower… while we assembled and wrapped the gifts I’d squirreled away months earlier.
He found his purpose and passion again, when sawing fallen tree branches from our last major storm… cutting them into neat 3″ round circles, and sanding them smooth. They would make the cutest natural Christmas tree ornaments for next year. He found a larger log to cut into wooden plaques, and wants to add tripod legs so they’ll stand on a shelf.
He also picked up the camera again after a long haitus… most likely because I haven’t had any time to hoard it. LOL
I was reminded of how we met, six years ago ~ he had recently purchased the Pentax *istDL that we still use, along with a few lenses and filters, and was always looking for an opportunity to test them out. One of our first dates was actually a planned photo-shoot. In the snow.
It was freezing, and I was wearing those ridiculous white stockings that a DeviantArt buddy insisted would “make me famous” (yeah, famous with foot fetish stalkers! Thanks, Vlad!) … standing in the snow in stockinged bare feet, wearing a broom skirt, cotton blouse, and velvet throw blanket draped over my head…. while this guy I knew casually from work snapped pictures of me that we’d later upload to my online stock modeling account.
It was cheesy, impractical, and romantic. And we went on to many more dates, and took many darned good photos.
I couldn’t have known that we’d wind up married with 2 kids, though.
Seeing him so inspired made me realize that we could still make our dreams come true… we could collaborate on a photography art business. I’ve been teaching him the ropes: how to list items, photograph them, manage the back-end of an Etsy shop, what Treasuries, Front Pages, and Circle Activity is all about.
All these cutesy titles ran through my head for our new shop name, particularly Jet-Fly Photos… using his initials and my name. But that would imply we shoot aviation photography, right?
In the end, he suggested we simply use my old name, TaraFlyPhotos, since it was an established business already.
I could no longer use it on Etsy, as I’d changed my shop’s name to TaraFlyArt, so we registered TaraFlyPhotography on Etsy, added an avatar and banner, and that’s all she wrote for now.
In the coming weeks, we will be selling photographic prints, taken by Joe and myself, and edited by me in Photoshop. Many will be nature related, but you’ll find some architectural studies and portraits too. Everything will be printed and packaged here in our studio, just like my cat artwork is.
I’m considering moving my collection of Regency art photographs over to the new shop, just to keep things consistent, as they aren’t cat related… but I’ll have to see what my customers think. They are fairly popular, and people already know where to find them.
One change I’m planning to make in both shops ~ an upgrade in the quality of paper I use for reproduction prints. I’m currently using Ultra Premium Presentation matte paper, and while it’s highly rated photo paper and lovely, I want something more substantial and Wow-worthy.
After receiving a free pack of Signature-Worthy Premium paper from Epson as a promotion, I fell in love with the Hot Press and Cold Press matte papers. Hot Press is very smooth, like my original UPPP, but much thicker and with a nicer feel. Cold Press is a textured watercolor type of paper that made photographs look almost like paintings.
I’ve already ordered a few packs to start off, and when they arrive next week, I will revise my listing descriptions. There will also be a slight price increase, which is totally worth it when you see these new prints!
As far as New Year’s Resolutions… I have no idea where this year will take us. I will be working full-time and trying to manage two shops, although I hope to get outdoors and do a few Farmer’s Markets and shows this year. (I said that last year!)
I fell short on my goals for 2011 ~ at least on paper. I didn’t blog twice a week, nor did I list a new item every day, get my Zazzle shop updated completely, or add a press kit to my site.
However, I did manage to acquire a wholesale account, find new avenues to showcase my art, participate in a charity auction, upgrade my website to WordPress, upload videos of my studio, sell bookmarks, cards, prints, and a few original paintings (including Madonna Cat), and jinx my husband into becoming my business partner.
What I really want for this New Year, in 2012?
I want to be happy.
The Mayans may be predicting gloom and doom, but I’m predicting this will be my best year yet!