Instructions are for sissies

A little over a year ago I got a new car. It isn’t much like other cars I’ve gotten, which have pretty much been inconspicuous. Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla. Reliable, dependable, practically invisible.

This time I got a sky blue Mini Cooper. Not invisible. Initially I had a hard time with it. Not because of the car itself. The purchase experience was the worst purchasing experience. The salesman was obsequious in the slimiest way possible. Trying to make the purchase took most of the day. If you want to feel cheated, yanked around and like you need a shower afterwards, that’s the place to go. It made me mad to look at the car for weeks afterwards. I did eventually get over it.

Because the car had side mirror covers that have a version of the British flag on them, I decided to see if there was anything else available. I looked at Mini Cooper accessory sites and didn’t really find what I was after. Went on Amazon and found all kinds of stuff. I looked through it all and ordered a few things, all from different sources. Got the first one. Product looked good; packaging was cool. But no instructions. Second item showed up, product looked good, no instructions. Last item arrived, no instructions.

I’m starting to think that auto accessory companies must be run by 23-year-old boys, for whom instructions are a sign of weakness. You can’t possibly admit that you don’t know everything. Sheesh. I didn’t think you could buy paper towels that didn’t come with instructions of some sort.

Almost Fell for It

I have a business license for selling in my Etsy shop with all the attendant paperwork that goes with it. So when I got a letter telling me that I needed to file my fictitious business name again I didn’t really question it.

This weekend, when I was paying the rest of my bills I decided I go ahead and pay that one, too. I went ahead and filed it out, business information, credit card information, etc. And then sealed it up and got ready to send it. I noticed that the address I was sending it to was Sacramento. Now that’s not too unusual, there are lots of government offices in Sacramento. But I didn’t remember having any dealings with Sacramento when I set up my business. And I sure didn’t remember the fee being $125.00. So I decided I’d look and make sure where you’re supposed to send your paperwork for Orange County. I found out that you send it to Santa Ana, not Sacramento. I also found out that my fictitious business name was not expired. There was a scanned copy of it. And the fee was $23.00, not $125.00

And I almost fell for it. Sent all my business and credit card information to someone running a scam. They’re doing phishing scams through the regular mail now.

Today’s technology

I’m having issues with technology. Specifically irons. Yeah, those irons. The ones you usually use for your clothes. I can honestly say that I haven’t ironed clothes in years. That’s what knits are for.

I’ve been working on a custom cigar band ring, (Hi Tam!). Got a message on my Etsy shop¬†asking whether I had a ring for a specific brand of cigar (in Portugese, no less). I didn’t. There have been thousands of brands of cigars and while I have hundreds of different cigar bands, I didn’t have the one she was looking for. But I told her that if she could send me a good scan of it, I could probably make one for her.

She sent me the scan and I modified the picture so I could use to make an etched copper ring. However, I’ve been having trouble transferring the design to the copper. Instructions say to use an iron at 325 degrees. That would be great, except I can’t find an iron that will reach that temperature. I’m guessing that today’s irons just don’t reach as high a temperature, probably to prevent burns or fires.

So, after four incomplete transfers and several hours of wasted time, I decided to go low tech an use the stove top griddle with the gas at its lowest setting. The temperature turned out to be surprisingly controllable. I was able to reach the temperature needed to make the transfer without melting the plastic transfer paper. I got the best transfer I’ve done so far. While it’s certainly a method you have to be very careful with, it’s much less time consuming and has a much better outcome. Hooray for the low tech solution.

Amazon Handmade

Saw on the news this morning that Amazon is opening a new handmade section. I applied to be a seller within fifteen minutes of finding out.

I have been selling at Etsy for a few years and my business had been growing steadily. Emphasis on the past tense there. Then they decided that hand made also meant manufactured goods. They chose to make money for themselves in the stock market rather than for all the crafts workers and artists who had made their site successful. I felt personally betrayed. Since they made that change my sales have dropped dramatically. It’s way too easy to get lost in the thousands of shops that sell mass produced products.

I hope like heck I get accepted as a seller. I’ve been very unhappy with the changes that Etsy has made, but there haven’t been any real alternatives out there. I’ve tried a couple of different sites and had no sales at all over a period of months. Amazon Handmade could be real competition for Etsy.

Thus far, I think Etsy’s biggest enemy is Etsy. I’m not interested in working to benefit Etsy’s stockholders, especially when it’s to my detriment.

Hoping a door will open

The door closed on me at work. They laid me off.

During the time before I left I tried to do the best I could. Moping and being angry would have helped no one, least of all myself. Making other people unhappy to see you is not a good way to leave a job, whether you’re leaving voluntarily or not.

I tried to leave things as in shape and with no pending work. Not possible, but I did the best I could. They’re going to be stretched pretty thin there as it is.

Now I’m hoping a door will open.

Initially I’d thought to go out to agencies right away. But Mom has a doctor’s appointment that I have to go to and the last time I applied at an agency I was working within a couple of days. I don’t want to have to take time off the first week I’m working someplace so I’ll wait until that’s over and then apply.

I have been taking the time to work on getting an Etsy shop set up to sell the jewelry I’ve been making for years. I’ve spent some time every day designing banners, taking photos of jewelry, or making jewelry. Usually some combination of all three. And I have a class in how to start a jewelry business this weekend. It seems like now is as good a times as any to get this going. I’ve been thinking of it for years.

I can’t stay home forever, but this little respite has been nice. With all that’s happened in the last year and Mom’s continuing problems, it’s nice to have a little less to handle for a while.