Goodbye 2017, and good riddance!
This past November, our ancient Peke passed away just before Thanksgiving, and we didn't really 'do' Christmas, or much of anything else to acknowledge the holiday season. On top of that, I had an expensive car repair over the summer, had to take out a loan for a long-term opportunity I've been chasing for a while (see below news update), and just this past weekend, took my ancient car in AGAIN for a funny noise.
... That funny noise? The power steering lines and power steering pump both failing. So there's another $800-$1,000 in repairs I really didn't want -- or have -- to spend. (And as of writing this, my car is STILL in the shop and I had to borrow my mother's wheels to get to work. Not cool.)
So let's hope we can leave 2017 in the DUST and move on to bigger and brighter things, and quickly, yes?
In Etsy shop news, I took every last bauble of inventory I had to the annual craft fair at work, and put my shop on vacation mode. With all the holiday and financial stress of late, I may commit what is most likely shop suicide and leave it on vacation mode a while longer. I turned a very small profit at the craft fair, but there are some grown adults who have sticky fingers, so I need to sit down and have an apples-to-apples session with my listings versus my inventory before reopening the shop. I'm also aware some of my listings need better photos, and while I have the equipment, I haven't had the time. So that's still on my to-do list right now.
I have found that at least with in-person sales, the little angel and fairy earring designs I have are immensely popular; the ones that I most enjoyed making with bright colored pearls and bicones? Collecting dust. Go figure! What sorts of items do you like to see in a shop? What do you usually shop for when it comes to hand-made jewelry or wire work?
Where do you think my shop could/should improve?
In other news: I'm 3/4 of the way to being a licensed kimono dresser and teacher! If you're in the Southern California area and you're interested in learning more about Japanese kimono and how it's worn, please contact me. :) I will be able to teach on weekday evenings or weekends. Lessons will be in English - no Japanese fluency required. I already have an extensive background in Japanese culture with 14 years of Urasenke-style tea ceremony experience as well as time spent abroad in Japan and an Asian Studies degree from Occidental College. In sum, I know what I'm talking about. ;)
I will be offering two learning paths:
1. Casual, basic lessons - how to get dressed in yukata and kimono with whatever items you have in your kimono closet, as well as some basic guidelines on how to find wafuku items in your size. Pricing will be very reasonable and lessons are a la carte style - schedule what you want to learn and that's what the day's class will include. Simple, right?
2. Formal Shoden / Chuden certificate courses, which will allow the student to become eligible to move on to the Okuden-level courses taught in Torrance. These courses will have required (bilingual) texts, lesson plans and materials per the Yamano-Ryu school of kimono stylists, as well as a different pricing structure established by the school. Be advised that because this is a formal license from an established Japanese kimono school, you must complete all sections of the course to move on - even if you already know quite a bit about kimono.
(I'm not trying to scare anyone away, but the formal courses are nothing like getting a driver's license where you pass a test and you're good to go. They are much more like taking higher education classes - there are required units and texts involved in order to advance. Make sense? If you want to know more - even if you aren't in the SoCal area - drop me a line. I'll be glad to answer what questions I can!)
Option 3 is if you don't have any interest in lessons but want to be dressed for an event (o-bon, tea ceremony, etc.) - pricing will vary with the formality level, and I have items that can be rented if you don't have a kimono or yukata of your own.
I'm not much of a New Years Resolution type - I'll gladly adopt the make-good-changes mindset when the new year rolls around, but those resolutions last for hours instead of days. :P So this year, I instead want to try and make a list of do-able goals -- actually read the books I've bought over the last few years about making better choices and not procrastinating (irony, much?), dedicate more time and resources (both mental and physical) to fewer projects, and really focus on my health and fitness. (The one GOOD thing that happened in 2017 was a department change at work, and it was both literally and figuratively a life saver.)
This week's goal? Go through all the magazines, catalogs, etc, and clip out the 'ideas' that I'd noted - instead of holding on to the entire magazine/catalog/pamphlet. I'm still an old-school fan of paper, no matter how awesome and convenient Pinterest may be, and am quite happy with some tape, three-hole-punched paper, and an old binder to make idea boards. Besides, you can't scribble notes and doodles on a Pinterest board. ;)
What are some of your goals and plans for this year?
(Our newest family member, Mei-Li, who joined us just before 2017 ended, at least giving us one happy thing to end a rather awful year.)