Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Flower buds are beginning to pop open and color is returning to the browns of winter... I love spring! The raised garden bed that I built has been filled with compost, one 4-gallon bucket at a time. It came from the UMass Department of Waste Management in Amherst, MA and it was a fantastic deal. I don't have a truck which is why I needed to take all the compost in buckets. They have buckets there that you can use with a $0.25 deposit a piece. Then it costs $0.50/bucket to fill them. I think it took about 50 buckets to fill my 10' x 4' raised bed. The compost is made from horse manure, leaves and yard waste; it's thoroughly broken down and looks rich in color. I can't wait to plant some lettuce seeds in the bed next week!

In other news, I successfully completed my taxes on time. Although I had to fork over a bunch of money, it's a giant relief to know that it's done for another year. I also said farewell to my love for the next month... He's out on a bus tour with Soulive, bringing live music to the ears of many. I'm always sad to see him leave but also look forward to the opportunity to get lots of work done.

Unfortunately, all this activity has kept me away from my Etsy shop for the last week or two. I'm hoping to get some new items listed this week, despite the fact that I want to do a lot of work in the garden and paint my bedroom. We'll see how much actually gets accomplished :)

Happy Earth Day! Go enjoy the outdoors today!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Taxes, Blogging, and New Hearts

It's that special time of year once again... Tax season. I can't stand doing my taxes (but who can, really?). Mine are especially not fun because I never get any money back (I always owe!) and I do them by myself. Hopefully in the next year or two, I will actually make enough money to justify an accountant. But until then, I guess I'll just have to suffer through it. Unfortunately, I am a major procrastinator, which means taxes for the next week for me. yucky. Its also a bummer because I don't have any items that are ready to list in my shop... so, nothing new until next week.

In other news, I seem to be taking giant strides in my online business. I think I've actually been living under a rock until now. I previously had no idea how to drive traffic to my shop. I think it's because I've never really been an online junkie. The internet can be exciting, but I've never been one to spend hours clicking away. I'm learning that if you want to run an online business, you kind of need to have some sort of online presence. I just started going into the Etsy Forums and have discovered the 'Promotions' section. Last Saturday, I played around in 'Promotions' for 3 hours, and saw about a 10% increase in my number of overall shop hearts. It had taken me a year to build up to 94 hearts... and then 3 hours to bring it up to 104. It also resulted in a sale! And on top of all that excitement, I met a bunch of really great Etsy sellers too!

In the midst of all this promoting, I also posted to several forums about this blog. I think there may actually be some people out there that I don't know personally who are reading this now! (gosh, I am easily excitable). While promoting my blog, I got the chance to visit many other blogs that are authored by other Etsy shop owners. This was a great learning experience for me. I have to admit that I never blogged or read blogs, prior to starting this one. I kind of thought that an online journal was a silly thing. But I kept hearing that a blog was a good way to promote your shop so I decided to start one. Sometimes, I can't think about what to write about. But visiting all these other blogs has inspired me! Lots of other bloggers feature Etsy artists, run contests and promotions, post favorites from other shops, and more! The possibilities are endless! I may have more to write about than my garden and cupcakes after all! Don't worry though, I will definitely keep posting pictures of my delectable desserts!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kink in my neck

I think I scared the spring away... All this talk about nice weather, and flowers, and gardens. Now it could snow here today. Oh well. It will be over SO SOON! I guess the timing of this cold snap isn't so bad; I managed to get one of the discs in my neck to bulge again. Yuck. and Ouch. If you've never had a disc in your neck or back flair-up, you are a very lucky person. It is incredibly painful! I had a severe scenario like this about two years ago. It took me out for almost two weeks. I visited with a chiropractor a few times, but there was a miss-communication about my insurance... they told me my insurance would cover it and then after five $150 visits, they said "oh no, wait a minute, your insurance doesn't cover this". Not what you want to hear when you are in pain, desperate for help, and broke. So I stopped going. Luckily, the chiropractor was a very nice lady who showed me how to do some targeting stretching and re-tracking of my spine. From there, I decided that I needed to be proactive in my spinal health, so I started going to yoga regularly. I had a few small set-backs with my neck along the way, but over the course of 7 months of a regular practice, I felt like I was stronger, more flexible, and had substantially better posture. Then the Bizarrest Little Snowflake Bazaar happened. That is the annual holiday craft show that I put together. It's overwhelming to run something like that by yourself. I started feeling like I was running out of time to get everything done so I started sacrificing a yoga class here and there. I never intended to quit. But I did. I am embarrassed to say that despite having a much calmer life since New Year's, I have not been back to yoga class since the holiday storm. And now, here I am, talking about this stupid kink in my neck again. I wonder if I'll learn my lesson this time. Perhaps I'll eventually figure out that 1 hour of time devoted to my body is more important than squeezing in a bit more office work. Maybe I'll realize that giving my body what it needs will result in my body giving me what I need. I think when I work this knot out of my neck, it will be time to give back to my physical self again. Plus, bathing suit season is on the horizon :)


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Veggie Bed

Wow, what a fabulous day in my little nook of the world! Almost all of the snow has vanished out of our yard and we're making headway on our garden plans! Today I finished building a raised bed for our front yard. It was fairly simple to do... We followed some directions in an organic gardening book that I received for Christmas. It measures about 10' long by 4' wide, which should be large enough to grow quite a bit of food! We decided to use completely untreated wood, even though it will rot in the next few seasons... This way we won't have to question the health of our soil. It took us a few hours to build; we hand cut all the wood and then drilled all the pieces together using galvanized deck screws. I can't wait to see things growing in it! The picture shows the bed upside down while in the midst of construction. The support beams that run across the middle will be buried beneath the dirt.

While I was outside crafting the bed for my summer vegetables, I heard a woodpecker knocking along just a few trees away. I managed to catch this shot of him before he ventured off...

And then Sam spotted the sun hitting some fungus on a downed tree in our yard. It looked like it was on fire! While I was taking pictures of that, I couldn't help but notice some moss glowing on a tree stump near by... The vibrant colors of the forest are alive again!