Back to Biz Not Back to School

It’s back to school season here. I’m not planning a return to school but I am returning to working in and on Bridgwater Crafts!

I didn’t officially leave but I’ve been inactive for far too long! So much of my life changed a few years ago and in some ways, I never recovered. I finally feel like I have both my creativity and my energy back. I want to create again. I need to create again.

My life will never return to what it was but it can still be wonderful. It can still include old goals and dreams but some may need adjustments.

I’m working on getting back into the habit of thinking and working as a biz owner not just as a crafter. I’m trying to figure out where I want to go from here and how to get there. So much has changed since the last time I figured out goals and plans.

I have a lot to work through. I have a few small goals and plans in mind to start. Now it’s just to recreate habits and gain momentum!

My First Craft Fair As A Vendor

Yesterday I attended my first event as a vendor! It was the annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair in my community. I’ve attended as a buyer many times since moving here as a child. Vending this year was a spur of the moment decision made just last month. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be or if I would sell enough to be a profitable endeavour.

I haven’t completed an inventory of my remaining stock yet but I believe it was profitable both financially and from a marketing standpoint. My business was brought to the attention of many new people. I received an email this morning from the coordinator. 2017 may have broken records for attendees!

I didn’t make everything I wanted in time for the fair and third-party products were not allowed so I couldn’t sell dōTERRA products or promote that side of my business. But I learned a lot regarding the local audience; the products they look for; made contacts and gave out business cards to more than my buyers but other attendees as well.

For this first vendor event, I had a mix of crochet and knit products and some products made with dōTERRA essential oils. I inventoried all products brought; had bags ready with a business card in each; had more business cards out on the table; brought a few props; and made notes of requested items and things to do differently next time.

My niece, Mackenzie, helped me with the booth. We worked well together. She expressed interest not only in helping me make new products but also in helping me vend at future events. We brainstormed a little on new products we could make using essential oils. Having both of us at the table brought an overlapping group of acquaintances, family and friends resulting in reaching new customers.

Some of the things I learned were:

– iron or wash my tablecloth (a twin bed flat sheet) prior to use, it was visibly wrinkled!
– have multiples of the same items in the same colours and sizes, I had a few parents and grandparents wanting matching items including one wanting matching hats for her twin granddaughters (she bought two in similar colours instead)
– people want larger bottles of Epson Salt
-sparkly ornaments draw in children which then draws in their parents!
– sitting and standing while wearing winter boots causes foot pain!
– locals will purchase my products!!!
– giving out lots of business cards results in new viewers to the website and sign-ups to the newsletter!
– money earned is not the only indicator of a successful event!

2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up

A Productive Day

Yesterday was a surprisingly productive day. Surprising because I’m in a flare (fibro) and having almost constant dizzy spells. I haven’t been able to do a lot. But when I look back on the day quite a bit was accomplished.

I woke up early to get my nephew ready for school. Mira and I walked him to school. I made essential oil samples (Lavender and Balance). I packaged up samples for spŌIL Yourself. I’m vending at a local craft fair in a few weeks. I worked on products for the craft fair. I bottled two sizes of bath salts. I made some lip balms. I need to work on that recipe a bit more. The results were creamier than expected and work better in a jar than an applicator. I watched numerous youtube videos while working on other things. I worked on a crochet hat for the fair.

I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped. My focus is decreased by the flare and being dizzy does not help. I have so many books I want to read but no attention. It’s frustrating as reading is a huge part of my life and has been since childhood. I feel wrong when I don’t read. But when I’m flaring and dizzy I just can’t.

I was in contact with someone I’ve known and worked with for years. She is going to join the spŌIL Yourself week. I reached out to a few others but am still waiting to hear back.

I received word that an RN I used to work with was killed in a motorcycle accident in Jamaica. That was hard. I had contact with her both as a co-worker and as a patient. She removed some of my staples after my thyroidectomy. I didn’t know her well but I knew her.

Let’s see what today brings…

It’s Been a Long Time 09/07/2017


I know, it’s been a long time since my last post. I wasn’t as far out of my anxiety/depression/fibromyalgia flare episode as I thought. I backslid. It feels like I’ve been in a fibro flare since September. I usually have a flare when the seasons change and when there are weather disturbances. Winter was so weird this year I didn’t stop flaring.

I’ve decided to concentrate on the blog and a few farmer’s markets/craft markets for the rest of the year. I’m also going to practice extreme self-care in an attempt to not have a repeat eight-month episode. As I feel better I can write up my designs and go through that process. My hope is to blog five or more times per week and participate in at least two markets. I’ll add anything I make to the shop and just close it on market days so the same thing doesn’t sell twice.

I have a pile of different things I’ve made during the past six months that just need the ends woven in, to be washed, photographed and added to the shop. I’m going to work on those this week. Weather permitting I will even be able to use sunlight rather than artificial lights!

Blog-wise I plan to continue Simply Sunday and Tuesday Quotation posts. The rest will be updates on what I’m doing and book or product reviews.

One big life change is that my pension plan (from my last employer) sent me an exit package with four options:

1-leave my locked-in pension money with then until I can begin accessing it as a retiree at 55.
2-transfer it into another HOOPP (Hospitals Of Ontario Pension Plan) employer if I was working at another hospital.
3-transfer it to another employer pension.
4-transfer it to a financial institution in a LIRA (Locked-In Retirement Account) or transfer the above locked-in portion to a LIRA and take a cash amount to keep or put into an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)

I chose option 4 and to keep the cash. I received it a few weeks ago. I plan to live off that cash as long as possible. It was $89 355.00 locked-in and $92 238.12 cash (in a cheque) and allows me to get off social assistance. It feels like a weight of stress is off my back! It’s so nice to not have to worry too much about money! I kept a few thousand in my regular savings account and put the rest in a higher interest savings account. I want to see just how much or little I need before I start removing money out of the higher interest savings account monthly.

When I checked on health insurance to cover what I’m losing by going off assistance I found the monthly fees would be more than my monthly prescriptions cost due to all my health issues. It’s going to be cheaper to just pay for what OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) doesn’t cover. I will basically have to pay for prescription drugs, glasses, dental care, massages, chiropractic visits, physiotherapy visits and a semi-private or private hospital room should I be admitted to a hospital.

I admit I have made a few large purchases since receiving that cheque. I went from depositing it at the Credit Union directly across the street to the electronics store. I purchased a MacBook Air and an iPad Pro, both in the smaller size. I’ve since had to purchase a few Mac programs I use on my iPhone 6SE and iPad; I wish third party apps could be used across all Apple products, not just the Apple apps! I’m still learning the intricacies of the differences between Mac and PC computers. This is my first Mac.

I’ve bought some e-books-ok, lots of e-books.

I plan on replacing my FitBit One; its button is taped on and half of the neoprene cover has fallen off or is close to falling off. It’s lasted at least five years though-probably more-I’d have to look up when I first joined the FitBit website community.

I joined DoTerra an essential oil provider, as a wellness consultant. As a consultant I can sell to others, sign up other consultants and receive discounts on the oils and other products I purchase. I’m still learning about all that this can entail. My first shipment has been shipped but hasn’t yet arrived.

I rejoined the Yarn Love Yarn Club for six months. I love Katie’s yarns and her colour sense! I’m so glad I am now financially able to rejoin. I missed receiving those wonderful monthly yarns! Katie also sells jewellery now, I bought a few bracelets from her too. The bracelets are on their way too.