Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jumping on the bandwagon

The P90X Workout Bandwagon that is.

I know, I know. I'm not a fan of fads in both exercise or diet, but let me explain.
P90X is a serious workout regimen that is pretty much guaranteed to change your entire body using a rigorous 12 week workout routine. If you follow the diet and workout plan, you're suppose to see amazing results and a whole new body.

That's not why I bought it for Hubby for Christmas. I do not have a Chubby Hubby. He does not need to lose any weight.
Back in June he had knee surgery where part of the meniscus in his knee was removed. Good-bye running. 40 minutes of pounding the pavement and his brain was clear. No more, quite the blow to his stress relief. His knee can handle about a block or two of running and then he's done. Now what to do?

Friends of ours and some of his co-workers have done the P90X workout and suggested he give it a try. They're not "girly" workout dvds, no threat to his ego there (I'm kidding.). Guaranteed to burn off some stress.
I decided to try it along with him.
Neither of us are interested in a body makeover. Both of us would love to be a bit stronger (but not ripped) and somewhat more toned. I'm thrilled to have some new workout dvds. He's thrilled to have a different form of exercise. (I'll admit it, I'm glad he's exercising too.)

We're planning on following the workout schedule as much as our lives allow. We eat pretty healthy already so I don't think we'll make much of a change there except add a protein shake or two. (maybe) We both have two workouts done and will do workout #3 today. I can't wait!

I honestly don't see us being too serious about this whole deal. It'll just be another way to stay active thru these winter months and hopefully emerge in the spring with our marbles still in place. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two giveaways to get in on

1crown3tiaras is giving away a $50 gift certificate for her shop. Enter here.
You can also win a $30 gift certificate to able mabel on Jessica's blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Ideas from able mabel

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Here are some quick and easy gift ideas from able mabel. A mini key fob makes a great stocking stuffer. Awesome as a zipper pull on backpacks. Works wonderfully for kids who seem to lose track of house keys.
Tired of all those supermarket grocery plastic bags? Hide them in this plastic bag holder and dress up your kitchen at the same time.

How about a darling bib for a darling cherub? (Model is not included. I'm keeping her.) These bibs will fit babies and toddlers from a few months of age up until a few years of age. How slick is that?

A decorative switchplate is an easy way to add pizazz to any room.

Snuggle time gets so much better with a cuddly blanket.

How about an adult size key fob for those of us who can never find their keys? You know who you are! ;)

(My shameless plug is done. Back to my worktable!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Setting Goals

As kids, Hubby and I both had horrible teeth. We're talking overbite, buck teeth, the whole works. We both ended up getting braces as teenagers.

While I can't speak for him, I can say that it changed my life in a big way. It made me more confident (I seriously thought twice before opening my mouth either to talk, smile or laugh), and more comfortable with myself. It sounds shallow, it sounds vain, but it's true. So many times since then I have very thankful for having braces. (Thanks again Mom and Dad!)

I would love to be able to do the same for our kids that need braces in a bad way. So far the oldest three need them, not cosmetically but for their bite. I had our oldest two girls in for their consultations this morning. We'll start our 11 year old with a "bite fixing appliance" while our 9 yr old doesn't need to do anything quite yet. She still has too many baby teeth.

Orthdontic work = a hit on the pocketbook. Yikes!

Even with insurance (a pretty piddly amount but still something) and interest free payment plans, it still comes out to be a decent amount every month.

This is where goal setting comes in. I would love to build on the success able mabel has had this year and make 2011 even better. I would love to be able to pay for my kids braces out of the "able mabel fund".

That means:

  • Getting off my duff and getting my listings updated, key words changed, tags added or subtracted. Things I've been putting off for a long time.
  • Creating, creating, creating new product.
  • Listing my link in various link directories. (free and easy backlink to my shop)
  • Work more on free advertising.
  • Blogging daily Monday thru Friday.
  • The list could go on and on.

I'm hoping with my new craft room (which is almost done), it'll streamline the whole creating process from start to shipping. I'll be able to spend more time working on product rather than setting up, cleaning up, re-organizing, etc.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Treasuries vs Collections

First a little background...

I am completely wishy washy when it comes to ArtFire. (A well known fact) As I've posted before, I started up a PRO account over there (again). I then imported my entire Etsy store and then left the scene. I didn't "work it" and then wondered why I wasn't getting sales. (um, duh.)

It's been interesting to see the views and incoming URLs add up on ArtFire. So (once again), I decided to pay it a little more attention. I've been exploring their tools and handy dandy seller options. It's been fun. I do love some of their options they have that Etsy doesn't have.

Yet, sales continue to come in via Etsy and only one on ArtFire. Pretty typical.

With both sites, it's still up to me to get traffic to my shops. Backlinks to my shop is one way. Making a Treasury or a Collection is an easy way to get a backlink to your shop.

This past week, I made a Treasury on Etsy and two Collections on ArtFire. (basically the same thing, just called by a different name.) Oh boy, did the differences in the sites really show.

Here is my Treasury on Etsy. Houndstooth Love

Here are my Collections on ArtFire. May all your days be Merry and Bright
Grab a cup of hot chocolate

See the difference?!

  • I did the Houndstooth Love Treasury first. It was hard to decide which pictures/products to use because there were so many great items to choose from.
  • I then tried to do Houndstooth on Artfire. I came up with 4 (seriously 4) pictures that were clear and crisp enough to use. Also they had to be sellers with PRO accounts, not ones with Basic accounts. (ArtFire will only use Collections for their front page and in their emails that have all Pro sellers in them.)
  • I then changed my search options to "hot chocolate" and "bright holiday christmas decor" and still had a hard time coming up with enough decent listings to use.

My conclusions

  • The actual process of making Treasuries and Collections is about the same.
  • ArtFire has a handy option of automatically letting sellers know they made it into a Collection.
  • You have to do it "manually" with Etsy, quite time consuming. You also have to make sure that each of your convos is worded a bit differently so it's not considered spam which will shut down your convos.
  • ArtFire gives you the option of submitting your Collection for consideration for the front page and in emails as long as all sellers featured are PRO. (Update: My Hot Chocolate Collection made it to the front page of ArtFire today. How cool is that?)
  • Etsy you have to cross your fingers it'll be seen or else promote the heck out of it.
  • It was much easier to find "decent" listing on Etsy, much harder to find on ArtFire.

Is one better than the other? I'm not sure. All I know is it's a long of fun making them and an easy way to backlink my shop!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Guess what?! I finished my key fob order. :) JB was giving me grief the other day, wondering if I was still working on it.

Now my latest project is a wholesale order for a shop in Australia. I'm almost done with it and my goal is to have in the mail by this afternoon. Good luck there.15 bibs, 15 key fobs and 10 blankets. It's been a lot of work but so fun at the same time.

Meanwhile in able mabel land...

I realized this morning that when I didn't blog for the last few weeks, I hardly took any pictures. Time to bring back the blog and some new pictures. I have two for you today... First off, little Lou doing a quick modeling stint. No worries about the blanket in her mouth, this one is hers and was only used to show the size. :) It was about impossible to get her to lay still. Notice her hand moving 90 mph. She's still our sweet happy go lucky dolly!

While Lou napped this morning and I puttered away on my order, here's what the other three did. Who knew crayons and old newspaper could keep them entertained for so long. It was awesome to see all three of them on their bellies, happily co-existing in the same area. This morning started out a big rough but got better as the hours passed.

Now to get them all down for naps at the same time so I can continue working...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something has to give...

It's been 9 days since this key fob was published in Lonny Magazine.

Since then I have sold 43 of them. (I've actually gotten more orders for them but am still awaiting payment.) Additionally, I received an order this morning for 35 for a shop in North Carolina. (My first ever "wholesale" order. I use the term loosely since I didn't sell them to her for 50% off)

78 total Leopard Print Key Fobs. Amazing!

(I still haven't counted how many other fobs I've sold in the last week. Nor have I gone thru all other requests I've received since then. Blog features, other product requests, etc. I've done some, but not all.)

As you can imagine, it was a much better response than I anticipated and could have hoped for. Therefore, something in my life has to be put on the back burner. (Let me clarify here...I am not overwhelmed or overly swamped and am keeping up just fine. It's just taking me a bit longer to get orders out the door and I'm not creating anything new product at this time.)

I'm not willing to sew every waking moment, I can't ignore my family, I can't ignore my house (anymore than I already do), I can't give up exercising, I'm not devoting my entire life to able mabel (This is suppose to be a "hobby that supports itself", not a job that takes importance over everything else.)...

So my dear friends, you drew the short straw. Until I get things back under control on this end and feel like I can take a breath (which I selfishly hope is a good long while away. I am enjoying the busyness while it lasts! ;) ) my blog will not be updated.

Unless, of course, I get a wild hair or have something pressing to say...


Until next time!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I've been MIA

because I've been too busy smooching and snuggle this little dolly! Isn't she just squishable?!? She is, by far, my chubbiest baby and it is so fun to cuddle a "butterball"!

It's hard to believe she is 3 months old already! Where has the time gone. Gone also are the days of napping her on my bed. She's starting to "swim" and wiggle all over the place. She laughs, coos and giggles much to the delight of the entire household.

She is a sweetheart and we're very thankful to have her!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pretend Play

It's Saturday afternoon in able mabel land. The little are sleeping. The bigs are playing house.

First though:
9 yr old daughter and her friend: "Hey guys! Wanna play house?"
7 yr old son and his buddy: "Naw. Sounds boring." (play house? they're way too old for that!)

9 yr olds beg and plead, until finally...
7 yr old, "Okay. Fine. But I get to be the dad and leave to work right away in the morning." "No, I get to be the dad!"

After much debating back and forth, it's decided that one boy will be a dog and one boy will be the dad. The girls will be the mom and kid.

All is peaceful in the playroom, a serene happy "family" goes about their day.

The "real life" mom continues about her Saturday chores, playing Suzie Homemaker, thrilled that all is well above.

Meanwhile, a little wakes up and goes to join the "family".

All of a sudden the "pretend family" upstairs erupts into chaos!

The baby bawls nonstop.
The toddlers are owly, saying "no" and "don't want to" over and over again.
The dog howls constantly.
The mom is grumpy and cross. (I wonder where they learned that behavior from?! Must be from one of the friend's houses.)
The dad bolts for the fishing hole. (Ditto above. Hubby hasn't been fishing for a good long while.)

The "real life" mom sighs. This is too much like everyday life. Why the need to act it out all over again?! She climbs the stairs to calm the masses and suggests the "family" breaks up and a game of "school" starts up. Eyes light up and off they go.

Please let this be a good day in school and not one where:

The students won't listen.
The teacher loses control of the classroom.
The principal gets called in.
The buses stall on the side of the road.
A goose gets loose in the hallway.
The dog eats the homework.

Or this "real life" mom will have to think up a new game, a quiet one, for them to play. A game of "Church", perhaps? At least all chaos there gets taken care of in whispers and the naughty ones get hauled out to the back. (in theory anyway.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cat got your tongue?

Throw on a pair of cat eye glasses,or a blue cats eye beaded bracelet around your wrist.

Better yet, pin a cat on your shirt.

Afterall, some think black cats are good luck!
Happy Friday! Wishing all a delightful weekend!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What I'm working on

Lately it seems like my plastic bag holders sell as quickly as I can get new ones listed. So today I decided I better make some more. However after I got this one done (in addition to the 9 I completed earlier in the week)... I decided I wasn't really in the mood to work on them anymore. So I didn't. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated and inspired when it feels like "production" instead of play.

I then pulled out another hot seller...key fobs...
Same thing. After getting two ready for hardware, I was bored. What is my problem?! :) Two items that sell quickly, yet I was so uninspired to restock them. What up with that?
Glancing at the baby monitor and the clock, I saw that my short window of sewing time was quickly closing. I scanned my fabric stacks and had an "aha" moment. Patchwork blanket tops, just what the doc ordered. Something I've been meaning to work on but they always get put on the back burner.

I spent the rest of my sewing time working on them. Oh happy sigh. Just what I needed. "Free form" quilts. No patterns or themes, just whatever my little heart desired. It brought the "play" back into my afternoon!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Going back for more.

Remember this giveaway I had? Just last week, CSN contacted me again to ask if I'd do a review of one of their items. For those of you who don't know about CSN, it's a website that has over 200 stores and everything from soup to nuts, wardrobes to sweet lighting options!

As soon as I get my item for review, I'll let you know all about it. Trust me. :)

(That's a promise, not a threat!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Should vs Want

Do you ever feel like life is just a big choosing game between what you want to do versus what you should do? (Notice I didn't say have, but instead should. A person doesn't have to do much in life.)

It all starts at 4:30 am, when Hubby's alarm goes off. While he wants to stay sleeping, he rolls out (after hitting the snooze button at least 8 times, until finally his wife yanks off all his covers causing him to instantly turn into an icicle) because he should get to work on time if he wants to keep his job. I, his spoiled wife snuggles back under the covers because I want to get more beauty sleep.

When the kids' alarm clock goes off at 7 bells, I want to keep sleeping but I should make sure the kids catch the bus because I don't want to bring them to school and I don't want to homeschool.

I trudge down the stairs watching my step as I don't want to fall down the steps and decide what I should do for the day and what I want to do.

Laundry? (should I wait another day or does everyone still has a few clean outfits left?)
Cleaning? (do I want to waste my time washing the floor when it's raining out?)
Baking? (would anyone appreciate it, should I make something? do I have the right ingredients for what I want to bake?)
Sewing? (are there any orders I should get done today or do I want to make new product?)
Read to the kids? (are they going to want to sit down long enough to listen to a few books?)
Exercise? (I'm lazy, so I want to do yoga but I should take a break from yoga and do cardio.)
Talk on the phone? (I want to, but it's hard to talk over the noise so I should hang up for the sake of all our ears.)

So I putter until lunchtime mixing our wants with our shoulds. Then I put my kids down for naps because they should get some sleep if we want to have a less chaotic household come evening. Life is all about compromise!

Now I should quit blogging because I want to sew before I should make dinner. My family will want to eat tonight. :)