25 SEP 2014 :: The weeks are flying by!

I was checking my Facebook today and there was another  "weeks to Christmas" post. I share them as a way of remembering and reminding that the giving season is almost upon us.

I am never ready for the big day, and I always wish I could give more. When my kids were small, I tried to give a "Giving Tree" gift that was their age and gender. I love Operation Christmas Child, the shoebox ministry that reaches all over the world with happiness for kids. I sometimes did the same with them, three shoeboxes in the same categories of my kids. As a poor family, we often had to receive gifts from the community. The organization that has always stood out in my memory is Toys for Tots...because they allow the parents to choose the gifts for their children, and I believe they were the only group that you had a chance to get your kids bikes. I would love to do all my regular giving and then give more to these groups.

Now that the kids are big and gone, I find that finances are harder than ever. I have had years go by when I didn't have a thing to share. I use to give holiday food as gifts because I had food stamps. These things, hand-crafted gifts, things that aren't seen as expensive, don't go over well. Not too many appreciate the efforts...and there are health issues, taste and style issues, etc. I am still searching for good, home-made, hand-crafted, personal, unique, and classically designed gifts for a lot of giving events.

Having an Etsy shop is helping me to see the wide variety of hand-crafted possibilities. I think Etsy and me will be a good match as I develop my shop and explore all the hand-crafted things I have wanted to do all my life.  I am looking forward to next Christmas, and just trying to learn as much as I can about selling online this year. I will put as many products for sale as I can, but I have always wanted to create things to sell during the year for the Christmas season. My goal is to make enough money by Christmas to survive the next year. Currently, I have a goal to make $300 net a week, through all my various efforts.

If GOD allows me to live a decent time longer, I will be able to include making charitable gifts for the groups I support. I am fond of donating to annual auctions. I think my artworks may help that goal, but I have other projects in mind for that, too.

I think Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Many years ago I created a writing to go with my gifts. Then I decided to use it for all my Christmas projects, make a gift tag out of it. Finally, I decided to use it exclusively for my planned Christmas collectible ornaments.  I will have to think about whether I want to share it with you...maybe closer to Christmas, if at all. I am planning to sign and date copies of it to go with my sales items every Christmas. It has become a "secret" now. :-)

Time to go for today.  May GOD help us all to have a wonderful holiday season, thankfulness in November, giving in December, and planning for the next year in January. :-)

24 SEP 2014 :: Christmas planning...crafts and listings and sales

I just watched a great little YouTube tutorial on making beads from packaging. I would like to be able to do something like that. Someday I hope to branch out into videos of some kind. One of my long-term goals has always been to do documentaries on poverty and prison topics, now food and water issues have been added to that. I think the GoPro camera will help me to make videos. It isn't really expensive so I hope to be able to own one someday soon.

The beads made from recycled materials looked pretty good on the camera. I didn't have the volume on so I don't know what was said, but I want to try one at least and see if I want to adapt the process for any of my projects. You may want to look at it too: http://youtu.be/nWbT8zDyaVQ   -- jennibelle is the video creator. It takes a little over 16 minutes to watch and, naturally, you have to get through an ad before you can watch it.  :-) 

I was happy to be able to watch any video after the last time I tried.

I decided to try the share options at the YouTube page for the video. I put it on my Pinterest page, used Google+ to share it with myself, and shared it on Facebook. I am trying to learn how these social media options work so I can incorporate them into my future activities. It is an interesting web of sharing. I don't know how it works in a technical way, but I hope to find the best way through the rest of my life.

My original link to YouTube was a completely different video. I decided to save that one to watch later. I don't know where it went to. I wasn't at my own YouTube account, but YouTube is associated with Google. I will have to wait and see if I can still access the video I saved. If it went away when I closed the window it was in, I will never be able to find it again...most likely.

I have been working on my goal planning sheets today, trying to decide what I want to do about Christmas on Etsy. I am trying to fit my time and health limits into a reasonable goal, looking for good items to make and list, trying to find the best way to organize my personal space. I may be able to create a decent amount of listings for this sales season. It depends on what I create.

I also decided to suspend my fiverr.com/work2gather gig until I can make a plan for that site. I entered my objections into a customer support form and hope to hear back from them in time. If they are planning to add a limiting option to the sales process, I probably won't be told, but I asked anyway. While I was at my site, I changed some photos and revised my profile statement. I'm sure it is much better than the last one. :-)  I hope to get all my site connections organized and "filled in" as my planning process continues...maybe by the end of October.

If any of you are pro-life, the Oregon Right to Life office is doing a fundraising auction on the 27th. They have their donations on a site page. If you can find something you like, or want to attend, or they still have raffle ticket left, you can all the information at  http://www.ortl.org 

I am still in need of your prayers for my own situations, getting more grave as the days pass. Ask GOD to answer soon!  Thanks.

It's about time to end this post...hope that your life is finding GOD's Will for you.

23 SEP 2014 :: Holiday GOALS to raise money

I have been busy with Etsy today...reading, writing, trying to find the best way to increase my income through my shop there (work2gather). I was checking my emails and noticed again the Holiday Boot Camp announcement. It's a 4 week email seminar that you sign up for. Etsy creates a whole section devoted to the Holiday sales process - getting ready, promoting, learning from each other, etc.

Tonight I posted on several threads, most associated with the Holiday Team effort. I listed some of my goals for my shop this year, and what I want out of the Boot Camp. I found a post about making a 100 Day Journal and posted some of my experiences with goal setting and recording what you do to help achieve your goal/s. (I also checked on some of my other threads, and posted a conversation with one seller I discovered tonight.) They have a lot of support options for sellers to share their process. I am finding my way through them.  :-)

I have been reading some of the Etsy blog posts about improving your shop and marketing efforts. I am looking at the long-term goal of being ready for next Christmas season, but trying to find out what I can do to sell as much as possible this year.

My ultimate goal, for now, is to gather $300 NET income per week...from a variety of sources. As my health gets worse, I will have to cut back on some of my sales options, but I can still look for products that won't need a lot of continued activity...like PDF sales, eBook sales, etc. My goal in life right now is to find those options and get them in place!  :-)

SMART GOALS are part of the Holiday Boot Camp this year. They have a really nice sheet to print and use to sort through your sales goals for the season. I am using it for other goal setting activities. My Goal Notebook is really beginning to get organized and functional. I am fine tuning my forms, and discovering what information really matters to me and what I want to do. If I live long enough, the future may not be so bad.

I won't be writing much tonight...it's late, etc. I just want to ask for your continued prayer for my finances and living situation. My son in jail also needs your prayers to help him find a better future. It never seems like much when all you can do is pray. I guess we always want to fix the problems, to have everything do what we want it to. But it doesn't go like that. I am hoping GOD will honor my needs and provide for them, hear my prayers and answer them with badly needed blessings. I think our dependence on Him is what allows Him to be our hero, our Father, the One we depend on.

I hope GOD is the One you turn to first.

22 SEP 2014 :: New online directions

There is always so much going on in my life and in the world...how do you focus on just one or more things for a blog?  I don't know.  :-)

I was busy with something and it seemed like a good time to start a KICKSTARTER account. I had checked into the site a long time back, but couldn't remember if I actually started an account or was just doing some research about what was required.  I went ahead and tried the two emails I would have used if I did already have an account. The screen told me no. I looked in my records for some kind of reference about it, and I couldn't find any. So, I went ahead and tried to start another one.

I am new to the Facebook sign-in link, so I thought I would try that link and see if it went somewhere. Who knows what happened. I finally went through the start your account with an email pathway and discovered, on my profile, eventually, that I was a "member" since OCT 2012. I don't know why that didn't show up when I entered my emails. 

Then I decided to start a draft project and see how it would go, what I need to get, how it is structured, and all those kinds of details. I didn't know what project to do first, but it seemed like the book update would be the easiest to enter. I will try a few more drafts before I decide which project to start with. This is a personal account, so the projects have to pertain to me (I think).

I couldn't proceed until I got verified about 20 different ways. (That's an exaggeration but it felt like twenty!) When I went to verify with Amazon Payments, it eventually showed that my Amazon account, which I had started in order to list my booklet as a PDF sale some time ago (but couldn't because Amazon wants ISBNs and retail codes to make listings -- and you have to buy those now) seemed to be somehow the same.  Not sure, but it seemed that way.

Then, on the 21st, I tried to make a comment on a video and wound up signing up for a YOU TUBE account. It has been on my "to do" list for a long time, but I thought YouTube was all about uploading videos. It isn't. I guess you can create subscriptions for all the other "channels" on YouTube and get their info somehow...maybe like Twitter and Facebook.  I wasn't able to see any of the visuals when I tried to watch some videos...only the audios. I hope that problem goes away.

I don't have a video camera yet...lots of movie ideas, though. I will have to check again if the YouTube account is personal or business, but I think it was personal. There are registration issues to figure out for the difference. I discovered that you can make a video with photos, kind of like a PowerPoint in movie format, so I am going to see what I can create for my Kickstarter projects.

I tried to link Facebook and Twitter to Kickstarter. I think I succeeded, but it seems like you sign your online life away when you do that. I haven't figured it out yet. I am trying to see what all these links do as I go through the process for Etsy and Kickstarter and Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and now YouTube.  :-)  I will finally get the hang of it all and probably die the next day!  :-)

Today I have been occupied trying to catch up with deskwork that went undone while I was caring for the garden and pets where I live. It took most of the day. I did get some of my goal processes sorted and reorganized. I sent two of my goal sheets to my son that just went back to jail on meth charges. I hope they will help him to start thinking about his future...no matter where we are, there are things to plan, things to get done, directions to move in. One of the personal projects I want to do is called "Letters to Inmates." I am debating whether to make it a Kickstarter campaign.

It is so hard to see your children suffer and not be able to help them.

It was my first letter since his arrest. I just didn't know what to say. Drugs are going to devastate this country even more now that they are being legalized. They destroy minds and bodies and cause terrible things to happen to the drug user and to the innocent people around them.

I want to see some lawsuits about second-hand marijuana smoke. I would pay for them myself if I had the money. I don't want to breathe it, and it's going to lead to the repeated downfall of millions of drug addicts who are trying to regain their lives.  If it's suppose to be a medicine, it needs to go through the production and approval process that all medicines do, and it needs to be purchased at pharmacies, not the local marijuana store.  :-( 

I think that the government has lost its own mind approving this change in America.

I suppose that's enough for now. Will talk to you again tomorrow, GOD willing.  Pray for all my needs if you can...there are so many. Thanks.