Different Directions

I’ve been pondering for quite a while about taking my business and blog in different directions. I’ve been tossing around new product ideas of things that are more geared toward men, and things geared toward gamers. There are several items in my shop, two types in particular, that I enjoy making but just don’t sell much of. They get pinned and repinned and saved like crazy on pinterest, but typically on boards labelled “things to make” or something similar. I think for those items, I will take them out of my shop, and post tutorials on how to make them. Those items will be replaced in my shop with new products that are more masculine, and for gamers.

When looking through Etsy listings, and looking through booths at craft shows, I see mostly things for girls and women. As the mother of three boys, I feel it’s my duty to make something that they can use. Those boys are also gamers and they have inspired me to make things like polyhedral dice necklaces, dice bags, and eventually deck boxes for their cards.

I’m not sure yet what I will make for men. While what ever it is will not specifically be only for men to use, it will certainly be something that men would use more than a purse, scarf, or hair accessory, or doll clothes. I’ve posed the question on Facebook and gotten a few responses as to what would be most useful for a guy. Something to hold tools was the most popular answer.

I will eventually be posting tutorials here on how to make memo boards and sun catchers. I really enjoy making them, but they just don’t sell because people see them as ‘Pinterest projects’ and think they will make them themselves. I’m sure some people do end up making them, and I’ve had some really great ideas on variations for them.

On the home front, things are almost always in transition in our house. Now is no exception. I am in the final stages of recovering from wrist surgery, so the creative endeavors have been put on hold until I am fully able to craft again. Other things are changing in very positive ways, and new possibilities are on the horizon, but I’m not able to go into detail on those other things right now. I will not leave you in the dark for ever. As soon as there are concrete answers, I will update. It’s all good, and all part of the adventure.

 

What do you think would be a useful product for men?

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On the Edge, Off the Avenue

I am a product of the ’80’s. I was in high school when John Hughes movies were shaping lives with their messages, styles, music, and characters. One of those movies changed my life. That movie was Pretty In Pink. I admit that I never actually watched Pretty In Pink, although I had many opportunities. I did, however, have the soundtrack, and I listened to those songs every day for probably close to a year, if not, longer. I still have the cassette tape, and it still works! I memorized those songs and still sing them when I hear them. It’s amazing how Thirty years later, I still remember the lyrics. I discovered several musicians I had never heard of, and found more songs by artists I already loved. The two songs that stood out the most from the Pretty In Pink soundtrack, for me, are Left of Center by Suzanne Vega, and Wouldn’t It Be Good by Nick Kershaw. No, they are not the most popular songs on the soundtrack, in fact, most people wont recognize either when they hear them. That’s just who I am. The elusive B side tracks always speak to me, especially if they are obscure or have a deep meaning.

Suzanne Vega is one of my favorite singers/musicians. She has such a beautiful voice and her lyrics are deep. Her songs speak to me. Left of Center speaks to me more than most of her songs. I feel like it describes exactly who I was in high school, and to a great extent, who I am now. I never have been the mainstream type. While I tried to keep up with fashion trends way back then,lets face it – the 80’s certainly made their mark in fashion history,  I always put my own spin on them. I was always that girl who everyone recognized, but no one really knew. I had friends in all the popular cliques, but mostly stayed to myself; a loner if you will. I was always in the outskirts, in the fringes, in the corner, on the edge. I was never the center of attention and I liked it that way.  When I heard this song, it described me. Finally, someone got it! Someone understood! There was a connection. The bass line and the piano sucked me in, then the lyrics took hold of my heart. it was like left of Center was written about ME!

Even today, I’m still the quirky one, on the outskirts, in the corner. So, when I was trying to come up with a name for my business that described me, and described what I make, I started thinking about how unusual and unique my products are, how they are every day things, just different, just a little off to the left of mainstream; Left of Center. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that one of my favorite songs perfectly describes my work. From that moment, Left of Center Designs was born.

Lyrics:  Continue reading “On the Edge, Off the Avenue”

The Moon and Stars

A phrase that has always been very meaningful and comforting to me is “No matter how far apart we are, we are always under the same moon and same stars.”  I remember first thinking about it when I saw An American Tale. Fievel was lost, searching for his family, and he and his sister each sang Somewhere Out There while they looked at the night sky, longing to find each other again. That scene really stuck with me throughout my life. It was the inspiration this sun catcher; a little reminder that no matter how far apart you are from someone you love, you are always under the same moon and same stars.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/266838376/moon-and-starts-sun-catcher-blue-moon?ref=related-0

 

New Year, Take II

I had big plans for this year, from finally writing up a detailed business plan, to maximizing online marketing, production and listing goals, defining my market, and creating new product lines. I have been researching and reading through tons of material on how to effectively use a blog to drive business, using Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, for business, time management, and several other things. I wanted this year to be the year I really broke out and had great sales. I wanted this year to surpass the previous five years combined. I still do.

I’ve been doing this research for several weeks, and was ready for everything to take off on the first, when all three kids and the Hubs got sick. The man child and the girl got sick on the 31st, him with the Flu and her with a respiratory infection. Then the man and the boy got sick. Pops with the respiratory infection, and the boy with the Flu. Everyone is finally on the upswing, and now I have the flu. So, everything I have wanted to have done for the last eight or nine days has been on hold and will remain on hold until I stop feeling like I might die.

That being said, I had a choice. I could leave my plan in place and bust my butt to get caught up once I feel better, or I could rearrange my time line so that everything starts on the 14th (roughly). While there are benefits to both options, I have chosen to push everything back to when I feel better, and when I have the opportunity to get a little extra done, I will.

And now that I’ve used this little burst of energy on this update, I’m going back to bed. See you soon!

Reflection and Thanksgiving

Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving. It a time when we celebrate what we are thankful for in our lives. It’s a time when families get together, enjoy a good meal, spend time together, the kids play together, the adults catch up on the latest happenings.  At least, that’s what it used to be, for me, at least.

I used to love those gatherings at my grandparent’s house. I adored my cousins, and still do. I looked forward to hanging out with them, playing tag and hide and seek in the yard, watching football on TV. Then, we grew up, moved away, started families of our own, and drifted apart. Still, every year, every holiday, I think about those gatherings. I think about those people. I think about how fun they were, and truly treasure the memories of those family times.

I wont lie. It stings a little. It makes me sad that we don’t have family close by. My kids are growing up without knowing their cousins, not having those treasured times, and I feel like they are really missing out on something special. My mother, sister, and niece live on the other side of the country. My husband’s siblings and their kids live in different states. We have three children who live in different states. My aunts, uncles, and cousins live across the country, too. We are just simply far away from everyone we love.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still love them each dearly. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about them, and long to visit with them and their families. There is no bitterness, hatred, or ill feelings. Life lead us in different directions and we drifted apart. Sure, we keep up with each other on social media, but we don’t really talk anymore. There are no conversations, no discussions. It’s just the way life is these days and that’s okay, I guess.

I am thankful for each and every member of my family. I appreciate the affect they had, and continue to have on my life. I love them all and I love that I have those treasured memories to think about and reflect on. Now, all grown up and with families of our own, we are making new memories. One day, we will get together and share them with each other.