Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Special This Weekend for Blog Readers Only!

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xo all

Full Moon in Gemini on Saturday, December 6th - talk less, say more, clever conversation - language is magic

My Gemini Locket
The Sun is in Sagittarius so we know our beautiful, hopeful and happy - Full Moon on Saturday will be in Gemini (Sagittarius polarity - although with mutable sides things are not so polar opposite).

This is the culmination of June's New Moon in Gemini, so something from that time is finishing. Also energy from the New Moon two weeks ago is reaching its peak now

The Gemini/Sagittarius polarity is mutable. It's flexible, adaptable and thrives on change.

Mutable signs are restless and prepare us for the change of seasons. They are the breakdown and break away before the breakthrough.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury

(who also rules Virgo - Mercury was the messenger of the Gods and the Messenger God, after all)

and Mercury rules our 3rd house of day to day communication and language. It also rules siblings, neighbors, local travel, early education, transportation - movement. Its polarity sign is Sagittarius, where our Sun is hanging out this month, rules the 9th house of the larger world aspects of movement. So big picture thinking and processes, philosophy, higher education, foreigners, long distance travel, etc.

During a Full Moon we always have the Moon and Sun in their polar positions (that's what creates the full moon!) so the energy we are working with is the play between the two signs in this case Gemini and Sagittarius, their 2 houses - the 3rd and 9th and their ruling planets Mercury and Jupiter.

We have a bunch of other stuff going on this month including the 6th of the seven Pluto/Uranus squares (the last was this one in April) and I will post about this during the week because it's very impactful and important. These squares are the breakdown of corrupt social policies and systems - the dissolving of the safety nets that were never real anyway - no matter how strong you make a net there are still a whole hell of a lot of holes to fall through, and a hell of a lot of people have.

On a personal level, this is pushing us to connect with our hearts and our purpose and understand the Hopi message that we are the ones we have been waiting for (the processes connected with these lessons have sometimes been hard especially if we are determined to hold onto the things that are leaving). This is the roller coaster ride we came to planet earth to experience.

For now, this Moon is a sort of 'party break' before the square happens later in the month, so let's enjoy it.

The holidays are approaching and we are all super busy. This is the perfect weekend for a celebration and if we can work in a heartfelt toast to get the party started even better

Mercury (ruler of Gemini) is the Magician card in tarot - the magical, invocative power of voice, language and craft to shift reality. The power of our words to create magic is especially potent now.

This Full Moon in Gemini is all about communication so things will probably come up now that have us thinking about the way we get our point across, the way we present our ourselves, the way we show up and most especially what we are a voice for.

We are at a collaborative turning point for our collective - we are all in this together. Grateful, generous hearts are needed. Grateful, generous words will open the hearts of others. The less we say the more powerful our words are when we use them - keep this in mind. Our words will be remembered so let's make them memorable ... and kind.

Get outside tonight and tomorrow night and walk in that full moon- the energy is especially strong in the winter and this is our last full moon of 2014. Breathe deeply. xo all

Saturday, November 22, 2014

10 Ways for Makers to Balance Work and Family During the Holidays

The holidays can be a very stressful time for makers. We have to make the money while the money is there to be made kaching!

(see my post from last year's Team Eco Etsy blog on 16 Ways to Sell More on Etsy this Holiday Season)
and we want need to have an actual holiday with our families.  

The memories, like the money, don't get a do-over in January.

Before I was a maker I had a mall cart business and before that I was a bank manager.

When I was a bank manager the winter holidays were easy-peasy. We had three holidays in November and I always used a personal day or two in December for a long shopping weekend. Clients weren't so focused on their money and upper management took a lot of time off, making my job much easier.

I was still busy but had time to do all the family and school holiday stuff. Cookies were baked, stockings were hung, presents were wrapped, carols were sung

(yes, I'm channeling Seuss this morning).

When I started my mall cart business my holidays did a complete 180. I would open every year on Halloween, work every day until Thanksgiving (which I would COOK - what was wrong with me?!), re-open on Black Friday at the crack of dawn and come up for air at 3pm on Christmas Eve.

We'd put our tree up that night and the gifts I gave my family were purchased during slow times within 50 feet of my mall cart.

My daughter was a teenager then and I'm still convinced, although I have never been able to convince her, this was not a totally terrible way to do the holidays. Some years she was lucky and I was near Pac Sun and Claire's. Other years she would spend Christmas morning moaning over Yankee Candles and Mrs Fields Cookies. She still grumbles about it - I think it was character building.

Selling online is kind of the middle ground. We go totally nuts, if we're lucky and prepared, and then things slow down when it becomes too late to ship and we get a few days of holiday time with our families. Hanukkah falls into that last week this year, too, so if we celebrate that one, we just need to close a couple days earlier.

Here are some tips I think will make the next few weeks easier:

1. Let's get our own holiday shopping done NOW. Our days of casually strolling the mall and local shops during December ended when we decided to open a business and sell the things we make. Also it goes without saying if we want people to buy our handmade whoseewhatsee we should be supporting other makers by buying theirs. If we want people to be shopping local we should be shopping local. If we want people to be shopping online we should be shopping online.

2. Focus on what works. If our Etsy shop is outselling our website this isn't the time to re-vamp our website. Focus on our Etsy shop. If we sell better at craft shows, put our focus there. If our best selling product is our floral lime green belt focus on selling that in other places or other sizes or other colors. Don't waste time thinking about how to sell that thing that never sells. Our time is limited - do what works.

3. Say No. We can't do everything. "No" is hugely empowering and yes, we may have to live with the stomach upset afterwards. That's what ginger is for. Really, it works, buy some this week.

4a. Stick to a strict schedule. Let's determine the dates for our last supply orders, last discount sale, last shipping, etc - now. These kind of things need to be pretty much written in stone. We know how long it takes to make our whoseewhatsee, set a work schedule that works. I have a giant calender and like to write things down. Technology tools are available. As soon as we have the dates for the kid's play and concerts and any holiday parties we want to attend, add them in.

4b. Don't stick to a strict schedule. There are no absolutes. The days of someone telling us how to do all this ended with our final paycheck. If our schedule can't be a little flexible there is no point in being self employed. It's usually the only perk.

5. Eliminate distractions. We don't have time to be checking Facebook or Instagram or answering emails all day long (I  do this stuff while my tea heats and my kettle whistle puts a stop to it). A TV on in the background makes me nuts and I doubt makes anyone more productive. I could be wrong though. I get a few Audible books to listen to while I work, although on really crazy days I need silence. And yes, I can hear my racing heart as the clock ticks toward 5pm when my post office closes.

6. Get help. Delegate. It's all hands on deck time. It's not really illegal to use child labor if they are related to you and paid in gingerbread cookies. Any time saved on one activity adds time for another activity. You can't just triple the amount of things you normally do and expect to function. Hire or beg for help.

7. Let stuff go. The housekeeping police will not be at our house checking for dust bunnies this holiday season. Something has to give.

8. Respect other people's holidays, too. Let's not have some poor woman in Peoria overnighting us supplies on December 15th we should have ordered in November. Expect that the mail will be slow. We don't want to freak out at the post office and create a scene that will be the talk of the town for years to come, trust me on this one ....

9. Everything that can wait until after the holidays waits until after the holidays starting today.

10. Family comes first. They have to because we have to live with them plus of course we love them and all that jazz. Prioritize accordingly. We really don't have to be shipping until the very last minute. December isn't the end of the money train. Next year and new opportunities will be here soon enough. xo all