Tuesday, February 9, 2021

taxes.... ugh

 I'm doing my own income/ business income taxes this year.  All I can say is ugh.

Kya says I need to take a break and work on them again tomorrow.  Smart Kitty.  I've been working on them since 630pm to now, 1130ish.  

I have them mostly done, but I don't think I've done the Healthcare cafeteria plan right, and I'm boggled on the home deduction.

The online program I'm using is TaxSlayer, so tomorrow i'll log in again and get help (i hit these sections after they are off for the night).

I just want to point out I did the Kids' taxes in 15 minutes online, give or take a few minutes.  Oh for things to be that simple again ! 


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

well ARGGGH !

 OK, here I was at my day job, working overtime, when I hear my Etsy make the cash register sound.  I have 2 sites, one for jewelry  (which has been sadly neglected) and one for destash.

When I finally finish work, I checked and I was amazed to see I sold on my jewelry Etsy!! wooo hoo! 

4 necklaces, 3 with my very own glass cabs in them. 

So I go check it out, and imagine my surprise to find out I paid $7.50 in advertising fees.  Apparently at one time off site advertising was free, and you were automatically opted in.  Or maybe I choose it, honestly I don't have a clue.  The free has stopped, and guess what? Now I sell something so they take an extra 15% fee.  If they notified us the freebie was stopping I didn't see it.  It stopped in May of 2020!!

I guess I'm glad I sold something, and I guess if it was in ads great, but boy howdy that was a bite I wasn't expecting.

Really hitting the old and vintage costume jewelry lately, I guess I'm a sparkle phase again.  These earrings made from 2 different pieces of jewelry and new crystals. 

I'm feeling pretty Leary of on-line selling right now, but since shows are so problematic right now, I guess it's the only game in town.  I really need to invest some time in to it... get more stuff up, do better pictures, actually check it everyday and maybe do some advertising that I know about up front and won't have sticker shock from. 

I started a amazon handmade shop before Christmas, but I haven't had time to do much with it.  

I have 1 item of jewelry on ebay, to test the waters.  So far no nibbles.

I have a whole studio filled with beads, so sometimes I just like to relax and do stringing.  

I really need to pick one on-line marketplace, and really give it my all -- get 50-60 or more listings up with good pics and descriptions, and seriously work at it.  

I'm going to get my destash up and running again first, then tackle the jewelry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Business Plans for the Year....

 Honestly, I don't have any firm plans.  COVID is still a raging concern, and despite the vaccinations, I suspect we will be socially distancing most of 2021.  I hope I'm wrong.  We won't know yet until may or later what the rest of the year will look like.  Booking shows is mostly done by then.   

So trying to plan for 2021 isn't really a straight forward. 

Crappy photo, hard to capture the drape of t    his flat instead of worn.  Anyway, on the left is part of a pocket watch, with added vintage flower and a regular hanging down.  on the other side is  vintage watch face and parts.  The chains drape gracefully between them - when it's fitted properly.  I had it rather long, but it's easy to adjust.  Pretty copper flower clasp - since this is all about flowers.

I'm finding that, without setting up a business plan, I don't have well defined business goals.  (go figure!) If I don't have well defined goals, it's hard to get motivated.  

Don't get me wrong, I still love to make jewelry, but without focus, I tend to start and never finish it.  I enjoy every minute of my time in the studio, but it's aimless.  Also without planning for specific shows in mind, it's hard to give myself permission to spend the time needed in the studio to really create.  I never have enough time to get everything done, so if i'm not doing show, my brain thinks I don't deserve creative time.  Yeah, I know that part is twisted, and I'm working on it, but I can't pretend it's not there.

Maybe It's because I don't get the validation of selling face to face.  Selling jewelry, seeing people really like my jewelry, and it connects to them.  It becomes a shared experience that I really miss.

Just knowing I can make someone else's day is a high.

Even when/if COVID isn't an issue, I'm not sure how much longer I can sell direct to the public.  

I have health issues. Let's discuss just one of them: Asthma.  It's triggered by smoke, hairspray, perfume, flowers, deodorant,  lotions,  HAND SANITIZERS, exercise, laundry detergent and stuff that's green and grows.  

It's been increasingly hard to function at art shows and farmer's markets.  I never know when I'm going to get too close to someone and get triggered.  My biggest fear is sometime soon I'll get triggered by something someone is wearing, and my emergency inhaler won't help and I'll end up in a hospital emergency room.

Just imagine it... set up at Downtown Farmer's Market, bushwhacked by hairspray, rushed to the hospital cause I can't breathe, Hubby probably going with me insane with worry... my booth left abandoned -- or Jerry trying to take it apart by himself during the market, rushing and crazy with worry while the streets are crowded with 5000 people trying to get packed up so he can get to me.... 

I can spin multiple nightmare scenarios.

It hasn't happened yet, but I really feel it's a possibility.   

One thing COVID and basically never leaving the house has taught me-  my asthma really is a trigger situation.  If I avoid my triggers, I avoid episodes.  I have the occasional "bad breath day" but overall, it's situational.

For example, take this week.  I've used my inhaler three times -- all while cleaning the house.  The chemicals and dust made me start having a coughing fit, I got away from it ( my wonderful large house i can actually do this) I used my inhaler and sat down and calmed down and all was fine.

I hadn't used my inhaler for 2 weeks before this.

When I'm working at the office, or at a art show, I'm using my inhaler daily.  That's not healthy, or safe long term.  At work and at art shows where I'm tied to a location, where I can't do evasive maneuvers very well, I'm as higher risk of the big attack.   Asthma is painful and scary.  It hurts putting Jerry my husband through it.  I know he worries about it almost as much as I do.  

I tell you this not to enlist sympathy  -- merely to explain  why the more I think about it, the more I'm not sure how much longer I can do art shows.

Now add my other health issues --- one of them as serious if not more than my asthma ---  it's a lot to think about.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Random Thoughts 2021

 Let's start with a quote: War and Peace: “We are asleep until we fall in love.”

That's just.... lovely.  It makes me think of Les Miserables -- to love another person is to see the face of God! 

I'm not really religious,  but i love that line.  I get it.. the wonder, the absolute conviction of things beyond yourself.  That is love to me.  I could go on and on, but why when the statement kind-of says it all.

So we are in 2021 now.  Yeah?   I am very excited that 45 will soon be gone.  America will spend decades fixing all the damage he's cause.  

Today is the day I sit down and work on sale taxes for the states I collect for.  Since I had no shows in 2020, and sort of gave up on online sales mid-way through the year, at least it's gonna be quick to do this year.

I think I will even do my own income taxes this year.  I have more time and it would save me money I don't have.  What's a small glass of frustration in the last year of floods ???  

Wouldn't it be nice to fly away from it all? 

I bought 1 month of HBO/CIN so we could watch Wonder Woman 84.  It was ok.  Not as good as the first one, but entertaining and watchable.  Since I have this channel for the month I'm taking advantage of watching other stuff before my subcription runs out. This includes watching a few episodes of the original Linda Carter TV show.

Wow.  I had good memories of this show, and so far, considering the time it was filmed, it's not so terrible.  I've watched the 4 first episodes and that's probably I'll watch.

I'm currently hooked on FALLING SKYS.  Can't say it's ground breaking TV but it's really entertaining and some of the characters are really engaging.   

Also watching Lovecraft county a few episodes at a time with my Hubby.  Now it's a great, and strange and thought provoking show.  If you have a chance you should watch this.  If nothing else you will learn some history.  Jerry and I have had discussions based on some of the episodes.  It's also twisted and kind of gory, so not something I can binge watch.

I love my baby! Ain't she cute??? 

It's been a full year since I've watched Walking Dead, but I'm thinking about starting up again.  It's hard... I stop after the Whisperers killed some of my fav's.  

The snow outside is pretty.  Working from home improves my enjoyment of watching it.  We get quite a few deer tromping through our yard, and have multiple foot trails to prove it.  Occasionally we see them but the minute you pull out a camera to snap a pic they run off.  Sneaky quick varmints.   

I've collected another major health issue in 2020, go figure.  Still trying to wrap my brain around it.  I seriously need to make changes in my life, if I want to have a long one.

I really like this set.  the MOP is recycled from costume jewelry, the bass silver plated gals are new, as well as the sterling earwires.  Plated chain.

I haven't made jewelry in the last few weeks really.  I'm finally in the mood and of course I'm having problems with my heater in the studio.  GRRRRR 


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Painting Party

picture from my kitchen window to the sliding doors of the studio.  check out my blinkly sign! makes me happy to see it on when i'm washing dishes instead of creating!

picture from my kitchen window to the sliding doors of the studio.  check out my blinkly sign! makes me happy to see it on when i'm washing dishes instead of creating!

First, Happy Birthday to my Baby Girl!! Not such a baby to anyone but me now.  She turned 24 today.  It seems impossible! 

Since this is the age of Covid, we are having a family painting party ... got pottery from Five Monkeys to paint at home, then Dina will fire it at the shop for us.  She's accepting limited parties at the shop now, but with my whole host of health issues, taking it home to paint made more sense.  Actually painting from the comforts of our own home is fantastic!  

 I can do it in my pj's, just like i do work, and everything else in the last 5 months.  Except doctor appointments.  I dread the doctor, if for no other reason i have to wear my bra. 

OK in the studio, since i'm not selling basically this year, I'm working on reorganizing...... 

But I still find time to work on projects.  This is made with vintage / older pearls.  They are plastic but unused old stock, so in great shape and OK to use.  The pearl pendant is from a necklace that I salvaged for parts.  I've been playing with vintage jewelry bits lately.  I find sorting / digging in my piles very soothing, and then recycling them into new pieces.. always fun
This is my favorite new shirt.  Yes, it's a bunch of cats in blues, pinkish-purples on cobalt.  Who couldn't like it??? 

Well it looks like my pottery is dried enough for another layer.  Merry unbirthday to all, and Happy Birthday to my own Boo Boo! 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

so how is it going for you?

I filed sales taxes for the quarter.  I had online sales of $158, and owed no sales tax in the state of Iowa.  Let me tell you, for a business that runs primarily May to Oct, with June usually one of my best months.... this is not normal.

Honestly I haven't been pushing online so much anyway.  Jerry and I have talked the last few years about basically taking a year off, and Covid sort of made this year a natural. 

Not to say if you want some custom work I would say no.  I would take your commission in a heart beat!  I haven't been making much this year, and I do miss it.  I'm starting to get back to the studio more, but other parts of my life are a priority this year.
recent project... it's parts from vintage jewelry from the 1950's and 1980's and a clock gear.  what do you think? 

Big one is health.  More and More this is a concern, and again Covid really makes it stand out in stark relief.  I am on the "high risk" list about 4 times.  A family member has developed new and alarming health problems that are HEREDITARY.   The chances of me getting this in 10-15 years are high, and I kind-of feel i have enough chronic diseases for one person now.

Best way to avoid is to finally change our life style.  Jerry is on board all the way ( he's got health issues as well)

We have tried this before, it lasts 6 mos to a year, and then slowly goes away.

But I have a secret weapon this time.  I have a fully functional kitchen.
Me! stylin' in a homemade mask made by my sister.  She makes several different designs!  check it out!

the changes we are making are gradual and mostly involve me cooking more and more meals.  Substituting better foods than we eat now. 

I'm also working on portion control.   Best thing I've done for this? I bought smaller plates.  They are out of print Nightmare 8 inch plates and I adore them.  They are colorful and cheerful and fun to eat off.  And since they are smaller you can't fit as much food on them.

I'm going to buy another set so we have 8 settings -- you know so in 2025 when we can all be face to face again I can through a diner party!

This weekend I'm planning on making a large roast, a turkey breast, something with chicken, spaghetti casserole with hamburger and butternut squash, and some vaguely pastry like sausage things that I'm just sort of making up.

Some of this is because we just changed fridges and some stuff got defrosted , so they need to be used now.

But any left overs are getting frozen as individual servings.  That way when Jerry or I need a quick lunch or don't feel like cooking supper, we can just defrost something. 

That is the biggest barrier to healthy eating.  It takes more effort... and time.  After a 10 hour work day, even at home, I just don't feel up to any effort but nuking on some days.

Eventually we will have a decent pile of these "tv diners" all the time in the freezer. 

I'm also working on a carb friendly pizza crust.  There are several recipes out there, but i'm trying to find one that has a level of effort that won't kill me and yet all 3 of us like the taste of.  Once I hit that gold standard, I'll make them in bulk and freeze them at will.  Then we can make pizzas anytime we want to, and as long as you are using healthy toppings, pizza can be good for you.

so far the recipes are either time consuming and annoying to make, or quick and easy but the taste and texture isn't quite there.

I have a recipe that I think will be the eventual winner, but I'm tweaking it.  It's eggie in taste, and I want a crispier crust.  Instead of a dough, it's a batter, and you cook them like pancakes. 
"pancake" version.  about 6 inches, the perfect serving size for a personal pizza.  now if I can get it to taste more crust like than an omelet. ...

It's a work in progress, like just about everything I've described above.

That's sort of our family motto right now.  It's a work in progress.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

I spoke too soon.....

Remember how I was bragging / over sharing not wearing a bra for a month?  One should never ever tempt the fates.

Tuesday brought way more excitement that I ever want... one of our electric outlets poofed.  One small fire, a couple of hours panic, and one melted air purifier, and a visit from the electrician who mercifully only charged $150.00 to fix what could have been a major house fire and very very expensive mess.  Wearing my bra while he was here was a small price to pay.

It felt weird though.

It was in the bedroom so of course that meant it needed to get all cleaned up and de-stunk asap so we could hopefully sleep in there. 

So washed all the bedding, febrezed the heck out of the room, brought in a different air purifier.  Opened most of the 1st floor windows and ran the fan pointing out of the room.

I suspect with my asthma I'll be bothered for a few days, but really we did a good job at the clean up.

Very proud of the hubby, he had excellent reaction time and did all he could to mitigate the situation.  Because our wi-fi is out of our bedroom and it had no power until the outlet could be fix- and we are both working from home right now -- he especially reacted quickly to run 3 extention cords so we could get the wireless back for work.  All in all, both of us were only down for 30-40 minutes .

Today work was blessedly boring.

Stay safe !!!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

I Have not Worn A Bra In A Month!


Probably, but I'm trying to gather all the positives I can during this time.

Spending more time with family ? yep. What really helps with this is Jerry finally changed his job, and his work hours are normal now... not 2nd shift.

He more or less got a new job in February, but had to wait until the next training class started - which kept getting delayed for various reasons.

Then they finally got it all set and Covid hit, delaying it some more.

Strangely, the IRS really need folks, so they finally set up a way for him to be trained virtually.  So this past Monday was his first day at work, at home, and for now, he gets off at 5pm. When he's done with training his normal workday will end at 6pm.  No more 11pm!! No more weekends!!

So we now are doing puzzles as a family, having family game days and at least one night a week is movie night. 
New earrings, the pearl drops are from vintage jewelry, probably 70-80's .

My home office is set up in the war room, downstairs right by my studio I now get to look out my choice of 10 windows, or my studio while working !!!

Jerry is set up in the spare bedroom upstairs, with attached bathroom and 4 windows to look out of.

Instead of gassing up the car maybe every 1-1/2 weeks, we have gone over a month without filling up.

We probably wouldn't need gas then, but Jerry is making store runs for my 89 year old mom.

He's such a good guy!!

Both Jerry and I are getting more sleep.
I feel asleep with my glasses on and my CPAP off.  Jerry took the pick and then woke me up.  Grrrr

I'm cooking more, and trying to work in more veggies and healthy stuff.  I'm baking! fun fun fun and tasty!  I think I might even start making bread.  I keep dreaming of pumpkin bread, which I love and used to make every Christmas.  Family tastes have shifted and then I didn't have an oven for 9 years ( don't ask) so I haven't made pumpkin bread for a realllly long time.

I have been making cinnamon rolls, yum!

My asthma control is so much better! (for the whole how and why, check my blog entry here) 

I think I'm ahead in the stress race.  I have anxiety about Covid for my family, friends and local businesses, but being in better health personally?  I honestly feel so much calmer and happier overall.

I have time to pet all the cats everyday.  I have 6 so this is actually more of a feat than you would think.
Youngest kitty, almost 1 years old and all grown up.  He's also the largest cat in the household now.  His name is Parker, but I call him fluffy butt most of the time.

So what are your good spots about this crisis? What things are you grateful for during this time? What hobbies are keeping you sane ?

Stay safe.. and remember practice kindness everyday, cause yes, there will be a test.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Random Thoughts & masks

I've left my house twice in the last 4 weeks, and I didn't leave the car either time.  Wore a mask.  This was maybe 2 weeks ago?  At that point, I saw maybe 2 others wearing masks. 

For those of you out and about, how many do you see now?

I have a new work supervisor.... Kya!  So I've moved one of the tall bar stools by my desk and sacrificed my light jacket as a pillow for her Highness, and now she naps most of my workday.  This pic shows a chair, but she didn't like it.  Must has standards in the workplace . 

I liked my old co-workers, but well, I adore my Princess Kya.  Giving her a place to settle is actually making me more productive... she likes laying on my chest which makes typing hard.  This way, I get to cuddle and pet for a few minutes, and then she happily jumps to the stool for her mid-day 8 hour nap.

Since I"m working from home I really don't have that much more time than I did before to do stuff, but it's inspired me to get a few projects done.  I've had the poster and frame for the Doctor Who bathroom for over a month... the problem is I bought the frame about 1/2 inches 2 big, and I needed a matte to make it look good.  Trying to find one pre-made was a epic failure.  I was going to go to a craft store and buy the strips, but well, that's not gonna work for several months, now is it?

Part of this crisis is we are all learning just how resilient we are, and how much can do spirit we have both as a nation and as individuals.  

It may seem a small thing to you, but making my very own matte out of materials at hand custom sized for this frame - I'm damn proud of myself.

I ended up using leather scraps I have to make bracelets out of.  Most of my scraps are actually leftovers from purses ( bought off etsy from a purse maker! ) 

Crappy pic, but it looks great in person!    
 I've also gotten most of the pictures and other artwork up now, or ordered frames for them.  So over a year after we moved, we are almost done moving in!!!

 My sister is making wicked cloth masks .... my hubby stole this one since I'm not leaving the house!!  If you want to check out her masks see them here.... for each  one she makes, she's donating 1, so between quality fabrics, free US shipping, and giving them away, her $12 per mask is deal, and you are helping her help others. Win-Win. 

She's not trying to make money with these, she's trying to break even.  She just can't afford to help others and donate masks by herself but this way she can.  If you want to make these masks yourself, she even offers a free TUT  to help you out.  Way to go Sis! 

 This is Parker taking his mid-day 8 hour nap.  May we all have mid-day naps in our future.  Stay safe, my friends.