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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Purl Soho in NYC

I just got back from a quick trip to New York City and was fortunate to see my friend Charlene who lives there.  We hopped the W train to Canal Street and visited Purl Soho, which is on Broome.

This yarn store in known as being one of the 10 best yarn stores in the country, and it's obvious why as soon as you walk in the door.  Not only do they have beautiful yarns, but Liberty of London fabric and all sorts of notions and accessories.

I of course couldn't help myself and bought some of the fabric (yes, that's $19.00 for a 1/2 yard!), a Purl Soho drawstring bag, and a weird little gizmo that came in a pouch with the cutest pompom on it (that will be figured out and revealed in its own post).  Surprisingly, I managed to not grab any yarn, but I figured it would be easier to call them or order yarn online in the future than it would these items.

Haven't decided yet what to do with the fabric -- maybe a little scarf for myself in anticipation of spring!  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Curation Consternation"

So, I've been thinking a lot about the blog content that I want to create for the upcoming months and for 2017.  I've been putting together individual posts for the general post that I did for the 5 Must-Have Crochet or Knit Baby Shower Gifts.   And I was thinking about my tagline "be thoughtful" and how it is intended to evoke in the gift giver thoughtfulness towards the gift recipient but also thoughtfulness towards oneself because, as we all have experienced, you often have as much pleasure in giving as you do in receiving.  But, as I move towards putting together collections of crocheted and knit items to make, I was thinking about another tagline to sum up why it's different and unique.  One of the new taglines I was thinking about was "Curation + Convenience" or "Convenient + Curated".

But, this morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning, Faith Salie had a whole segment on curation and her irritation with the word!!  She thoroughly explains the origins of the word and how it's evolved as well as why she believes it's become overused and meaningless. 

Suffice to say, the segment has given me pause about whether I want to use that word to describe what it is I'm trying to do.  I'm in search of a new, descriptive, catchy way to encompass my desire to inform you about, in my opinion, the best choices and resources that you have available when planning and creating your crochet and knit baby gift giving!  Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

TGI 2017!

I am really glad that 2016 is over.  Although good things happened, too many unsettling things happened as well.  It's time to start fresh, and January is the best time to do that.

I don't like referring to a list of "resolutions" because I feel like it then becomes doomed to fail.  So, based on my guiding principal of simplicity, here are my goals and aspirations for the new year:

1)  Simplify Yet Bolster My Social Media Presence

Many Creative Gifts has a Face Book page (please come "like" the page ;-), a Twitter feed (of course come follow us too!), Instagram photos, etc., etc., but I post and tweet and whatever quite randomly.  This year, I'm going to methodically spruce up my page on each media platform and then try to utilize it effectively.  I've come across some great checklists and tips on Pinterest (oh, we are there as well) and posted them to my "Small Business Tips" board.  Well it's time to go old school, print some of those babies out, and get cracking!

2)  Simplify Yet Enhance My Product Offerings

I've always just created what I've felt like making, then posted the pattern on Ravelry and sometimes the actual sample on Etsy.  But I haven't paid attention to sales analytics, etc., like I really should.  I want to offer items that people want to buy or make themselves!  I still think it's a good idea for me to concentrate right now on crocheted and knitted baby wear and build out my Classic and Colorful Collections (but I'm sure I'll get distracted by other projects as well); I just need to be sure I'm offering what buyers are wanting.  That's why I participated in two holiday bazaars this year, so that I could do some market research.  Unfortunately, the turnout was very low at both due to very rainy and icy weather both days, so I'm not sure I really took away much insight from the experiences (except how to set up and break down a display table efficiently, which is a good lesson to have come away with).  I think I'll have another chance in February for a special Valentine's pop-up shop.  I anticipate that online sales will continue to be my focus and hopefully concentrating on #1 above will help as well.

3)  Simplify Yet Enrich Each Day

It's amazing how easy it is to fritter away time in unproductive and ultimately unsatisfying ways!  There's plenty of time in a day to do the things that you want to do IF you are willing to give up the game apps, email scrolling, and all the other time-sucking activities that we all do.  Now, I'm a firm believer in mindless activities, we all need to take some down time, but it all needs to be managed.  And, I know what you're thinking: "But it's just 5 or 10 minutes, what else could I do with that time?" The answer is plenty.  Ten minutes of exercising your abs is better than 10 minutes of exercising your finger!  Or, more importantly for me, 10 minutes of activities that help me achieve #1 and #2 above is what I need to be doing.  As painful as it is, I think the only way I'm going to be able to direct my attention to worthwhile apps (like a book app or an educational coding one) is to delete the others (taking comfort in knowing that they remain in the App Store for future downloading again if I get desperate).  But unplugging might be the best way to simplify:  truly making use of the "power of an hour" concept by exercising for 20 minutes, meditating for 20 minutes, and learning for 20 minutes.  Back to basics!

I hope my yearly process of closing out one year and getting ready for the next has been helpful to you as well in contemplating your courses of action.  There's no right or wrong way to do any of this, just be sure you're making conscious decisions, not passively following habits you no longer need or want :-)  Here's to an amazing 2017!