Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Etsy Christmas List

After spending too much time online this morning and incessantly tweeting Etsy finds to my followers, who I am sure are sick of me already and it's not even noon, I decided to put together a little list of Etsy finds that I wouldn't mind finding under my Christmas tree this year. This will also serve as a not so subtle hint to my boyfriend who once gave me an unwrapped VCR the day after Christmas (that he purchased at a Boxing Day sale) with a plastic bag of used VHS tapes... oh yes it gets worse.. one of the tapes was a Gallagher special. I know it's the thought that counts but really, a used Gallagher VHS is the kind of thought I can do without.

My Etsy Christmas Wish List:

1. Small Bunny Vase by prettyrandomobjects

Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I almost can't stand it! I have a few ceramic bunnies that this would look great grouped with on my desk. It's such a sweet and simple design, I don't know what girl wouldn't love it.

2. Botanical Still II Print by stephanielevy

Stephanie Levy is an American artist living in Germany who creates beautiful illustrations of everyday things like living rooms and window sills with a modern design element to them. These would look great in a grouping of 3 or more down a hallway or above a table. I would love any of her Botanical prints, or better yet all of them.

3. iPhone and iPod Touch Cozy (Sir Hamilton) by annamatic

This is one of the most clever iPod holder designs I have seen, although I would probably giggle to myself everytime I put my iPod up Sir Hamiltons bottom. Nevermind the fact that I don't even have an iPod touch (yet) but this might be all the incentive I need.

4. Hogweed - Coptic bound journal in dark teal by paperiaarre

I've been journalling since my 12th birthday when I received a 5 year diary complete with a lock and key. The majority of them have been destroyed (believe me, no one needed to read about my teen years) but now that I am all grown up I love to pick out the perfect new journal, one that I will keep on the shelves and be drawn to fill with musing every evening. This is one of those books. I want two, one in teal and one in linen.

5. Prairie Hoody 2-Way Zip Hoody Jacket Dress by SelenaEon

I've had this jacket dress on my favourites for ever - it's one of those items I go and look at now and then to see if it's sold or if I can still hold out hope. I love the design, the chest and back detailing, the ruffle skirt, the gathered sleeves and pockets, the color.. a lot of work went into this dress. I might just have to save up my Christmas money and buy it for myself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Own The Hour

Own The Hour: Independent Etsy Promotion, Fresh Every Hour

If you haven't heard of Own The Hour yet you will soon. OTH is an independent promotion website for Etsy sellers offering 12 spots each hour in a treasury like format. It's very simple, it's very cheap and best of all it works! I've used it a few times already, at 50 cents a pop it's basically pocket change.

My results; an average increase of 30-50 views, a whole bunch of new hearts (thanks guys!) and 1 sale. Not too shabby for a website that just launched this month. Own The Hour is already selling out daily - more proof that social media marketing works (and works fast!)

Here's a tip: Buy midnight. That's when the next days time slots open up so you're guaranteed to get a ton of traffic! Noon is good (think lunch break) and of course the coveted evening spots - but be quick, they sell out very fast.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We've come a long way baby.

Somehow or other my 3 year Etsy-versary is coming up. It's shocking, I know - where did all that time go? Have I really made over 1000 things? No wonder my fingers are so sore. I'm thankful for that time though because it's allowed me to learn and grow not only as a seamstress but as a business owner, marketer, graphic designer and photographer.

I've been looking back at my first sold items - and cringing. I decided to re-do my first big seller, the check book cover in Alexander Henrys Light Bright fabric. Version 2 has a few upgrades, a pen holder, bigger pockets and a snap for extra security.

And here's the original listing. I am still using this check book holder by the way. It was so cute I had to keep one for myself. (I won't even tell you how many wristlets I have kept over the years.)

What a difference 3 years make! This not only goes to show my own evolution, but just how far the online marketplace has come. Your image is important but your key to success? Your customers actually being able to see those images.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

365, again.

Originally uploaded by ohsoretro
I recently started a new 365 - you know, the flickr once-a-day photo project. I love the idea, in theory, but in practice I'm not so good.. as you can probably tell from my pitiful lack of blog updates. (I blame twitter. How am I supposed to get anything done when I'm tweeting all day?)

It's easier this time since my subject is so cute, and furry. The first time was around the house macro photos, and I made it three months but there's only so much stuff around the house to photograph. Mr Boots, on the other hand, is endlessly entertaining. He spends most of his time sitting next to me on top of the record player while I'm on the computer and I can't help but want to photograph all the sweet little things he does, how he tucks in his paws or rolls on his side or does a big meow at me if I'm ignoring him. I realize this fast tracks me into crazy cat lady status but I'm ok with that. After all I'm going to be 30 soon, I'm not married and I live in a basement apartment. Let's face it, I am a crazy cat lady.

Feel free to follow along Mr Boots' 365 on my flickr stream!

Friday, November 07, 2008


I have self esteem issues.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since I think every women in the history of the world has had self esteem issues. I've been feeling it a bit more lately than I usually do - maybe because I'm slowly approaching 30 (4 weeks!) or maybe because my shop hasn't been doing as well (recession!) and I've been questioning myself more. Being self aware is important, being too self aware isn't.

I try to be myself, with my lame jokes and tongue in cheek humour, my short hair and flared jeans, my bright colours and simple shapes but everywhere I look I'm being told that it's outdated, out of style, boring, old, mundane. (Of course somehow charcoal gray isn't boring these days.. go figure!) I want to be true to myself without compromising integrity, without giving in to trends or latching on to the things that, while I can appreciate as being hip, I don't identify with.

I like bold 60s patterns, gaudy 70s colours and god forbid, I like florals. I like politics and history and world culture. I like reading books and listening to music and playing video games. I cry when I watch The Biggest Loser. My favourite food is oatmeal and I live in a basement apartment with a cat and sometimes I have panic attacks at the grocery store. But that's ok. It's about time that I started to like her, maybe even get to know her better and appreciate her for who she is. Not what she wanted to present herself as or wishes she could be. It's time to let that all go. I can only understand how I see myself and the world, not how others see me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Isobelle in Amy Butler

I've been tempted by Amy Butler fabric for years - who couldn't be, with their bold patterns and coordinating colour schemes, it's like a candy store for seamstresses. But I was steadfast, mostly because "everyone else is doing it" (not a good reason!) and because I felt a silly loyalty to Robert Kaufman, my first love. Well, I finally broke down and bought two yards from her Blue Lotus collection... it was calling me, I hearted it on Etsy and would look at it every day until I could decide which one to get.

Can I just say WOW? I didn't know what I was missing! I know I'm preaching to the choir here but the quality of this fabric is amazing, the weight is perfect, the bias are threads and absolutely perfect. It's one of those fabrics that just sews beautifully, crisp ironed edges and steady straight top stitching. I'm a convert. I get it now. (Why didn't someone tell me this sooner?)

Here is my first (and definitely not my last) Amy Butler purse done in my Isobelle pattern without the flap. I made two and might have to keep one for myself!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


14.365 Happiness
Originally uploaded by ohsoretro
Mr Boots and I stayed up late last night watching the election results. I knew I would be nervous (I was) but I didn't expect to be shocked and then so emotional. Even though he was clearly winning all evening, when they finally announced that Obama was the new president I was overwhelmed, and during his speech I wept. I only hope the change we see, the unity of gender, race, & age and the energy of the young carries over into every day life. The world deserves better and it finally feels like we're on the verge of something really good. I'm excited!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Obama Day!

I can't believe November 4th is already here - it feels like Christmas! I love seeing how excited everyone is, it is really a global phenomenon. I was chatting about it with my mom last night (who doesn't really understand why we care so much about Obama) and I told her that, for me at least, it finally feels like the turning point towards goodness again. The entire world has been so weird since 9/11, full of negativity and hatred and sadness. I want to believe in the good of humanity, I want to have hope and happiness that a good life for everyone isn't just a dream but a reality.. it feels like it's possible again. It's all very exciting.

I'll be watching the returns tonight and working on my website. It hasn't been updated since I created it - oops. Embarrassing fact: I got sucked into playing an online game over the past 6 months, I'm talking major addiction here, and I kind of let my store go to the wayside. Actually I kind of let my entire life go to the wayside. I finally kicked the habit a few weeks ago and am ready to kick my butt back into business. I've got a big to-do list that I'm working on for Oh So Retro - blogging, photographing, new products, update website...

If anyone has any blogging tips for business let me know! I finally found a template I like and set it up last night. It's definitely a lot more complex than it used to be when was new but I'm sure I'll figure it out. :)

I hope everyone has a great day - make sure you vote if you can! Enjoy the moment, we're in the midst of hisotry.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Return


So by now you've noticed that I didn't make good on my previous attempt at daily blogging. I'm trying again though, and this time I think I will make it stick. Instead of deleting the past entry and starting fresh I'm going to leave it up as a reminder to myself of where I've been and how far I have come.

When I read that entry I feel sad, I just sounded so defeated. Maybe I was in shock. My dad did turn down the job offer and was "reassigned" - only it turned out to be a great change for him. He's no longer stressed out so badly and that's made everyone happier. My parents did sell their house and move into a smaller home but instead of being 1000 miles away it's only one neighbourhood over. So all is well that ends well there.

I don't consider myself housebound anymore, at least not to the extent I once was. I still have a very hard time with my agoraphobia but every day I am out there trying. I can go to the post office and eat in restaurants and visit with Randys family and our friends, all the things I couldn't do before. I can even go to the corner store by myself when I need groceries. My mood is good, my sewing and creativity are up, life is good.

It will be even better if Obama wins tomorrow.

Oh & I finally got a cat to deal with those damn mice. :) (you can see him on my flickr stream!)