I've felt just like that woman in recent weeks about my Etsy Shop. I just wanted it to open, open, open!
This venture is truly a labor of love. I love the beach, I love seashells and I love designing with driftshells. While this is all true, I must tell you that it is also a lot of hard work. I've poured my heart into opening my Esty Shop and my aching back is proof that I've suffered along the way.
I had a LOT of shells to work with, but not nearly enough, so in recent weeks I've made several trips to the beach. I know that sounds like a great place to call work and I have a few photos that prove this. My most recent trip was down to Blind Pass on Manasota Key, off the coast of Englewood, Florida, which just so happens to be where my dear friend Karen of The Essential Beachcomber lives.
I drove over the bridge just as the sun was rising…
and as you can see I stayed there until the sunset…
Well, that's not really the truth. Karen joined me a few hours after I arrived and when we couldn't convince her hubby to bring us something to eat later in the day, we were forced to take a break for a few hours. This break included a slice of Mango Key Lime Pie from Publix and even though I fired Pete as our Cabana Boy, we still let him have a piece. (It was SO delicious!)
Now I know this sounds FABULOUS, but due to our recent storms, the shore was covered with driftshells and I took full advantage of the situation to really stock up on supplies. There is one person who really knows how hard we worked that day and there she is…
Yep, the shadow does know!
Just look at that sunset glinting off the sand!
The thing about collecting shells, is that when you come home the real work begins and each one has to be cleaned. With some kinds of driftshells this begins with picking out each and every piece of broken shell that has become lodged in its crevices…
Then sometimes you pluck out a piece of something and a treasure falls into your lap…
Down in that area, hunting for Shark's Teeth is a passionate past time and you dare not intrude on someone else's territory without fear of retribution. I don't collect Shark's Teeth, but I did get a kick of finding one in the comfort of my home.
I also get a kick out of finding things like this…
Driftshells that have turned into rocks! The one on the left was in the bucket Karen had collected for me before I got down there (thanks!) and the one on the right is one I found that day.
Anyway, between picking, rinsing, washing in a soapy, bleach solution, drying and sorting — the process took three and a half days.
Then the fun begins and I actually get to start designing. The work I do is kind of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, except that they've taken all the pieces of numerous puzzles and mixed them together. My job is to figure out which pieces go to which puzzle. While time-consuming, it is relaxing to sit and figure out which shell looks good with another one.
I thought I would give you a glimpse into my work area…
Ha! I wish! This is actually the art studio of Christie Brinkley, seems she loves designing with shells also. When I read about this on Maya's blog, Completely Coastal, earlier this year, I was over the moon jealous. Wow, what I would give to have a place like that to work!
For now, I set up my space each morning in my daughter's living room
and this is where I do what I do…
I cover up the coach to protect the fabric and cover it and the coffee table with bins and bins of driftshells. Then I set up my little worktable right between them.
Surrounded by shells is a nice way to spend my days, but if Christie offered me the use of her studio, I would SO be there in an instant! Anyone know her personally?
Oh, and I have one other little thing I have to deal with while I'm working. This is my great-granddog, Aysha Ann. Turns out she's a little shell thief and if I don't keep an eye on her, I find shells hidden all over the house.
I'm still learning and if any of you out there have Etsy Shops, I welcome any and all advice. My biggest hurdle was figuring out shipping prices. Etsy does not make this easy. You get to list ONE price and with items like I have, that isn't easy. I really wanted YOU to be able to choose from the many services USPS has — Ground or Priority? Flat Rate or by shipping weight? Zip Code to Zip Code, not one rate fits all. I finally went with Flat Rate boxes, BUT in my shipping policies I state that I am HAPPY to figure out what is the best rate for you. SO, if by chance you see something you'd like, just contact me through Etsy or my blog (email on sidebar) and we'll figure it out together. There really is a substantial difference in many cases. Let me know and I'll set up a private listing for you with the shipping you've chosen.
Despite all the things I had to learn about Etsy and PayPal, I finally managed to upload photos to my Etsy Shop in the last week and I am now officially…
Open Open Open!
|Click here or in my sidebar to visit my Etsy Shop|
I'd love it if you could stop by when you get a chance and give me any feedback on what you think.
For now, I'm off to do some much needed catching up with everyone. I need a break!
Thanks, you're the BEST!