Thursday, July 30, 2009

Freezer Pops

When I was a kid, I used to go swimming with my friends at the city pool. Well, actually it was the country club, but in our small town this meant little. It was just a rectangular concrete pool with two diving boards and a never ending expanse of concrete all around where we could spread our towels and lay on our stomachs in the hot sun (with (gasp!) no sunscreen).

At our house, freezer pops were not allowed. Filled with sugar and a big fat zero for nutrition, my mother kept us as far away from those things as possible. Frozen sugar-water, kool-aid in a tube, "ew" she would say. Of course, this made the acclaimed freezer pop even more desirable. Oh, that clear tube of sugary juiciness seemed to be the epitomy of summertime treats just out of reach from my slippery childhood fingers.

Even though we had a nice in-ground pool at home, it was a special treat to get to go to town and swim at the country club without my parents. The pool was surrounded by a rusty silver chain link fence, and the only entrance was through the mildewy bathrooms. At the other side of the bathrooms the only way to get to the pool was through a 2-inch swirling puddle of water with sloped sides. This mini-pool was (I suspect) to clean our dirty feet before we got to the pool, but it disgusted me beyond belief. Painted an offensive shade of turquoise, the water was always speckled with dead bugs from the night before, and quick dip of my toe in the corner would confirm its sub-zero temperature. I tried with all my strength to straddle the puddle while clutching my towel and "pool money", trying to stay on the dry sloped sides with my dirty feet. I wasn't the only kid who tried this, and unfortunately failed miserably.

The best part of going to the country club pool was, undoubtedly, "adult swim." Every hour, the lifeguard blew her whistle and announced "adult swim." This was a time when the moms could take a dip or the elderly could get in a few laps. I suspect, though, that "adult time" was just a marketing ploy to get the kids to spend their pocket money. During adult time, the lifeguard opened the candy counter. Behind the splintery board of a divider, there was a deep freezer filled with sticky frozen summertime goodness. Orange push-ups, ice cream sandwiches, and an entire rainbow of freezer pops. Grape, please. We would hand over our quarters and gather around the sides of the pool, splashing our feet at the grown-ups until the lifeguard closed up once again and climbed her lifeguard chair.

These days, I allow my kids an occasional freezer pop. I've even been known to have one myself here and there. uh, sorry, mom.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Make a stop on the Handmade Highway

I recently came across a tweet by Lori of Risky Beads, inviting me to make a stop on the Handmade Highway. I checked it out and was instantly charmed! Take this exit off the Handmade Highway and you can see a little snippet of information about my shop. Lori is promoting us like crazy, and we could all use a little promotion on our side, right? Recently, she put together this great slide show of sellers featured on the Handmade Highway (including me!):

Lori explains the Handmade Highway as "a virtual, contextual rolodex for handmade sellers." When you sign up, you complete a little questionnaire that asks things like "do you sell wholesale? Are you willing to participate in blog giveaways? Are you interested in charity opportunities?" and then she compiles it all together for you, resulting in an easily searchable web page of handmade sellers. So, if you write a blog and you're looking for a handmade seller to do a giveaway, you can search here. Or if you are a retail shop looking for new handmade vendors, you can look here. Search results can also be narrowed by specialty or location (like children or jewelry, or Detroit). She even keeps a separate blog devoted to featuring sellers on the site, giving each of us extra attention. Who doesn't want a little extra attention?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summertime plan - relaxation and time management

I've returned from a relaxing visit to my mother's house (where I grew up), and feel rejuvenated and ready to work. Okay, not really, but it was a fun time (especially relaxing when the kids were sleeping).... I know I'm not the only one who has also taken a vacation from blogging. Summer is just that time of disconnection, when people relax, lose touch with schedules, and get together with family. Even people without kids can feel it in the air. Society just slows down a bit, I think.

Unfortunately, while I've been enjoying the lazy days of summer, my work has... ahem... come to a complete stop. I really need to get back into production mode.


Last weekI came up with a plan. I've never worked in an artful capacity with a weekly schedule, but I vow to give this a try.

The first thing I did was sit down with my mom (and business partner) and discuss the future of Those Greathouse Women. What direction do we want to go in? What are we itching to create, research, discover? What are our financial goals? Creative goals? Time management goals? What are my family commitments and what do I need to change in order to meet them? How does our business need to change in order to keep up with current trends and business practices? It sounds like a daunting task, but it was actually quite fun, and so much easier to work through with my mom rather than attack by myself.

I will elaborate in future posts about specific aspects of the plan, but in short, here is a sketch:

Mondays: work on new items
Tuesdays: computer time (blog, research, social networking, teams, forums, etc)
Wednesdays: sewing/working
Thursdays: photographing/editing, blogging
Fridays: I don't have a babysitter! HA!
Saturdays: sewing/working
Sundays: sewing/working

This accounts for about 5 hours per day, which is when my sitter comes to relieve me of the children (allowing me to ACTUALLY get work done), or when my husband is available to help with the kids (on the weekends). I still have to squeeze in shipping and other things during the evenings, but I'm trying to make time to spend with my husband so he doesn't feel like an Etsy widow every night!

Notice that I plan to blog TWICE a week! Well, we'll see, won't we?