Monday, April 28, 2008

3 - Techno-Twit and the Digital Suicide Attempt

Okay, kill me now please - it's taking too long doing it digitally. I was most of the way "around the bend" when I started the Etsy stuff and I have now discovered precisely what lies waiting for you around said bend. It's a cliff. A nice, steep, don't look down cliff that drops off into a technological void from which there is no escape. Where did all this stuff come from???? And why the heck does it seem like everybody has known about it forever? We're talking absolute old hat here, and I'm wearing earmuffs.

I've learned to download, upload, and reload but seem to identify best with overload. I've googled then goggled at the deluge of information I'm expected to wade through (385 billion matches for your request...Yikes!) I've Flickr'd (mostly like a dim bulb); Stumbled then fumbled and totally bumbled; I've blogged (hey! I get that one, it's like writing :o) and now it would seem I Squidoo. Do you? Let's not forget Facebook; signed up? Yes. Figured out? NO. I'm set up on Ning, linked to a ring, even learned how to ping (if I need to test my connection).

So why exactly am I DOING all this stuff? Because it's supposed to help me promote my Etsy shop and increase my traffic. Of course what I have actually managed to get up and running is basically invisible. Um, it just me or is advertising your shop on an invisible billboard pretty much an exercise in futility? Maybe one day I'll get it all figured out (you know, on the free laptop they give you to use at the nursing home). Maybe.

I know there are FAMs and fellow Etsians out there in cyberspace at these places, as a few have actually found me on Blogger and Flickr - of course I haven't actually figured out how to find anyone else yet. I'm not even sure where I am exactly. Don't worry though, cyberself discovery is on my list of things to do (it's the one in 2 point type on that neverending roll of Charmin). I think I'll do that now, actually. Right after I check out something called "Indiepublic". I wonder what that's all about...

Friday, April 25, 2008

1 - My Camio -or- Jen's Creative ADHD Monster is Out!

My creative monster is officially out of the closet. It wasn't my fault, well not really. In a manner of speaking, the blame rests entirely on the fact that I've had cancer. You see I was an art major in high school and pencil sketches were "my thing". Of course such things were only for fun and not a responsible choice for a career (starving artists and all that). So when I finally became that responsible grownup, I closed the door on my creative self, and although I've done some crafting over the years I had it completely under control.

I'm sure you noticed the tense there; was, as in past, as in not anymore. I work in a school system. Generally this allows some time during the summer to learn something new to make which was then used for gifts (my justification, if you will). Over the years, I've learned to crochet, make candles, do calligraphy, make jewelry, scrapbook, and make candy, among other things. Everything was going well, right up until last year that is.

I had reconstructive surgery last summer. Being fairly young at diagnosis (40) and active, I opted for reconstructive microsurgery using straight tissue (so I could keep my muscles where they belonged, thank you very much). The only downside to this decision was a much longer recovery time, which meant I would definitely need something to do...

I had seen some craft pages on the Internet dedicated to the art of teabag folding a.k.a. kaleidoscope origami and was intrigued. This seemed an excellent way to pass the time during my recovery and would mesh well with my other crafts as gifts so I decided to give it a try. The closest I can come to a coherent explanation (and specific details remain unclear to this day) would be to offer this analogy; it was like cracking open the door to the closet holding my creative monster - just a little. The results were most unexpected; the door blew completely off the hinges, squashed me flat, and now my creative monster is on the loose and running amok all over everywhere.

I am still me (I think), but now possessed by creative benders that often strike without warning and trigger a mad scientist mode where I run around muttering to myself incessantly. I'm pretty sure I'm scaring my family. I don't understand what happened, not really (it was kind of sudden). It seems that I am now almost constantly overwhelmed with the need to create things, all OVER the place. I've even started sketching again, and I was scared - really scared to try. It had been so long, what if I lost it? What if I just couldn't do it anymore? But cancer has made me realize that life can be much shorter than we expect, so don't waste any of it - ever.

So here I am, my creative monster pinging off the walls and the results of my benders all but piled to the ceiling. My current thought? If I create anything else we're going to have to MOVE :o)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2 - Wysi-whatsit????

So now that I have all this stuff, what am I going to do with it? I started selling some cards informally. Not much, just a few here and there. The nice thing about the cards I make is that they're acid free. This means that not only do you get a cool card, but if you scrap you get a nifty embellishment for your page. Selling a few cards here and there was nice, but I needed to sell more. Even with good insurance the medical bills were starting to get pretty scary, so I added some candles to my "wares". Next came the jewelry, then the origami framed art.

Wysiwigs (pronounced "whizzywigs") is an acronym. It's the name I've given to my Etsy shop. I just love acronyms; I make them up on a regular basis purely for my own entertainment. This one sprang from "wysiwyg" which is geekspeak for "what you see is what you get". In the event that someone had already staked a legal claim to the original acronym (and because I really don't think I'd enjoy prison), I used that one for a springboard of sorts and coined my own. It stands for "what you see is what I've got smile : )". At the time, I'd never even HEARD of Etsy - I was simply under pressure to come up with a shop name on the fly at a craft fair. What can I say? Shall I just plead sleep deprivation?

Turns out that Wysiwigs was the perfect name for my shop. I started using origami to make my kaleidoscope cards, piddled with more origami in some vintage artwork, then started folding all kinds of other things. My Etsybuddy encouraged me to put some of my existing sketches in my inventory as cards and prints. Then I went completely off the deep end and added some brand new sketches. I didn't realize how much I missed my sketchbook until I picked it up again. Go figure. Truth be told, I was actually afraid to pick it up again. What if I'd lost it? What if I couldn't draw anymore? While I'm not expecting to go into a hall of fame anytime soon, I think it's safe to say the Lord blessed me with some talent. Maybe that's why I was so afraid I'd lost it; because I was wasting it, wasn't I? But I picked it up again anyway and I think it's still there. A little rusty and dusty perhaps, but there. Maybe I'll just let you decide for yourself. Then again, I might get my feelings hurt that way, so maybe you shouldn't tell me :o)

Etsy, in case you're not familiar, is a wonderful place to shop. It's basically a site for "all things handmade", although they do offer some supplies to make things as well. Even if you're not interested in my shop, it's definitely worth a look. Hmmm... fabulous shops, no lines AND polite people - I bet I know where I'll be doing my Christmas shopping this year!

Guess that's pretty much it for now, but if you're still rolling your eyes over Wysiwigs, then perhaps this is not a good time to tell you I sell Fridgiewidgets in my shop...