Monday, August 15, 2011

Brain Back from MuseCon!

Woo hoo!  My brain isn't being consumed by MuseCon any more!  And although I did the WindyCon Progress Report this weekend, WindyCon hasn't eaten my brain yet.  And probably won't as badly as MuseCon, since I only do Publications for WindyCon.  

My next Graphic Arts class starts a week from tomorrow.  I'm taking Variable Data Technologies, which teaches you how to get data from Excel into InDesign - like creating "personalized" junk mail. It sounds interesting.  So that's where I'll be Tuesday nights until, IIRC, December.  Different instructor than the first two classes I took, which I'm kind of looking forward to, also.

So, what, specifically, has been up with Otter Necessities lately?

Not a whole lot, as you might guess.  But I'm trying to get back into harness.

I de-listed everything on ArtFire and I'm re-listing one or two every day or so, to try to help with search results since the default is showing most recently listed first.  Etsy now default-sorts by relevancy, but I'm doing the same trickle-listing on Etsy.  I figured out how to the "how to measure a belt" diagram on ArtFire in the gallery, don't see a similar function on Etsy, so it looks like it'll be something I post as a secondary picture with each belt listing.

Still no ArtFire sales, only Etsy.  Maintaining both isn't a lot more work than doing one, though, so I'll give it some more time and attention.  
Books are caught up, except for one transaction I forgot - the book cover I made for one of the staff at the high school, so it didn't have an Etsy/PayPal/FedEx paper trail.  

Where was I on This, That, and The Other Thing? 
My plan to see what I had in production was simplified yesterday by removal of The Saw, which has been eating up dining room space for the last few months, to the back porch to build formwork for concrete related to side porch reconstruction.  Ron said I had an unholy gleam in my eyes when he told me it would be outside for part of the day. 

I'd already found a bin of finished but un-inventoried merchandise, to which I added several half-done items, some paperwork-ish bits, and made a list of what was cut out but otherwise not very far along in assembly.

I got all the finished and mostly-done things tagged and inventoried, and also finished lacing up a lace mania purse and sewed the back on a small Sam-Browne-Project-ish pouch.  That pouch and another one of the same style just need minor finishing work now.  All the finished items were sent up to Ron's room to have their pictures taken.  That includes five of the newest smaller purse.  Which I also figured out a price for.  And updated the price list.

And as Bob as my Witless we WILL get pictures taken of belts!

Marmaduke (friend of Robin's, who has adopted us) came over in the afternoon, so I didn't dragoon Robin into helping me sort merchandise from the trailer - I want to put all of the stuff that's listed (or inactive) on Etsy/ArtFire into one (or a few) bins, so that it's easy to find.  

Fox Hunt is next weekend, merchants will be outdoors.  Passing on that, especially since Ron's back has been crabby since MuseCon.

The Palatine HS fall craft fair is either the weekend before or the weekend after WindyCon, so that's Right Out.  

The SCA event Boar's Head is around December 10th.  We're used to do well there, before the economy tanked, and since we haven't been in a couple-few years it's probably worth the drive.  

The weekend after Boar's Head is the Fremd HS craft fair.  I get the impression it's bigger/better than PHS's.  Only second-floor spaces are left, and those cost about what we grossed at the PHS spring fair.  Ron says no, I'm waffling.  Maybe I'll go scope it out and if it looks like a better show than PHS's see about the spring show. The vendor list looks better, anyway.

Sorta-Kinda Meta Stuff 
Considering, again, getting a bunch of templates cut out.  I have a bunch of patterns I'd like to get made, but we don't have enough Round Tuits. This place, that a friend had found, will laser-cut almost as much as you want out of an X by Y size piece of acrylic for a set price, which includes shipping - I say "almost as much" because there is language that implies if you have zillions of tiny pieces the cost goes up, but for my templates I highly doubt that clause would kick in.  

I'm also considering getting quotes for a couple more cutting dies for one part of Sam Browne/kilt belts, and cutting the rounded end for those belts.  

MuseCon Class
Circling back to MuseCon, the leather sewing class (key fob) went well.  I've already told Xap I'd like to do it again, and will probably have more project options.  The basic key fob would remain free, the options would probably range in the $5-15 range.  I'm also looking at taking orders for a basic stitching kit - a book I like and basic tools.  

This year class registration went live in May.  The goal is to have it available even earlier for next year, so I should get my prototypes for possible class projects made soon-ish, and decide which ones I'm going to offer.  

The options for additional projects are:
  • A little flat envelope-like pouch
  • A small pouch with a gusset (need to come up with or tweak existing design)
  • Paperback book cover
  • Belt
And just to make the admins' lives fun, I can offer color options (brown or black) for each!  Hmm.  The flat envelope pouch is made out of fairly soft leather, which widens the color options even more.  But I probably won't do that to the admins. The gusseted pouch, book cover and belt would definitely require pre-reg, the envelope pouch less so.  

Still on the To-Do List (not in order)
  • Pictures 
  • List belts and smaller purses (and other items)
  • Sorting Etsy/ArtFire merchandise out of the main mass in the bins
  • Kilt belt for X2
  • Shoulder straps for Ron and Robin's kilt/Sam Browne belts
  • Retrofitting the kilt belts for sale 
  • Checking to see if I have an outstanding e-mail order  
  • Fixing the pouch with a broken latch I found, which I think belongs to X2.
  • Get the one book cover I forgot into the books 

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