The shit is hitting the fan.
I have been blogging about my daily life for 16 weeks now, and vending season is starting, and I'm freaking out! Just a little. I have a LOT of production to do this upcoming week, and I am also going to my hometown to visit my mother again, for another week, and when I get back then I have 6 days before my first BIG show of the season. GAH!
So, I present, A Year in the Life of a Professional Crafter, the Abridged Version. Or perhaps the Notes Version. Whatever you want to call it. I also need to make videos....SIGH!
Week of 4/17-4/23/2016
Sunday: Made lip balm, sent newsletters, planned for the week.
Monday: Work, roller derby not much else for me. Husband delivered private label soaps and brought home the big, fat check from that. YAAAAS.
Tuesday: Work, collapse, so tired. Received soap order. Hooray! Weekly newsletters have worked very well for our non-vending season.
Wednesday: Feeling better after sleep, planning for what to do tonight. Went to gym. Did not get ready for show. Because, why would I want to actually be prepared for something, ever?
Thursday: Prince died. This is far more devastating to me than I could have imagined. My husband is a guitarist and has admired Prince forever. The house is very sad. Printed out inventory sheet, and that's it. Friend buys lotion from me via Venmo, I must drop off tomorrow.
Friday: Work, MUST GET READY FOR SHOW, because it's tomorrow, omg. Before school, packed order I didn't pack yesterday. Mailed the order before work. After work, delivered lotion to friend from gym. Went to bank for cash. Took daughter to Chipotle for dinner. Went home, packed all the buckets, charged the new chip dipper from Square (recommended!), got everything ready.
Saturday: First show of the season! It's a very small show; the organizer has been begging me to do it for two years, so I finally relented. It was as slow as I anticipated, but I made as much money as everyone else there, if not more. Load in and load-out were tight timelines, which was hard to deal with. My rolling cart saved my ass. GET ONE. I should make a whole video about how much I love my rolling cart. Got home, unloaded everything, collapsed. Feels nice to have cash in my wallet again.
Week of 4/10 - 4/16/2016
Sunday: In two weeks, I have my first show of the vending season, which for me usually lasts just over 6 months. This show is early for me, April 23rd, but it's indoors. It's for a small metaphysical faire, and the owner has been asking me for two years to do her show. This year she contacted me very early, asking me yet again. I agreed and paid the fee. So we are now bumping up production to ensure we have everything available for that show. This will be helpful for May, when things really start rocking and rolling. My husband, Izzy, made soaps today, and plans on making more tomorrow. I, on the other hand, wrote my blog and two newsletters, and made the new soap sale for the week, and got started on doing our taxes. They are due on Friday! AAAAAAH! I spend a couple of hours sorting receipts into categories, then adding them up. It's been hard to get my act together for work, and now this completely unexpected thing that happens the same time every year.
Oh, also, I'm a public school teacher -- 8 weeks until summer! This will keep me going.
Monday: Again, Izzy makes soaps. I worked, took my lunch hour to go to the gym, then went to roller derby in the evening. I feel both like a beast and a remorseless eating machine. Great practice. Scrimmage next week.
Tuesday: Two soap orders today! Hooray! I promise myself that I WILL DO some work on our taxes tonight. I will. Probably.
I do not work on our taxes, but instead take a shower and go to bed as soon as possible.
Wednesday: SLEEEEEEEEEP! What a wonderful thing. Okay, I will do my taxes after work. Yes, I will. Yes. Taxes. Will do. But first, the gym. The workout is particularly difficult, and it's full of running too. I am not a runner. I mean, I can do it, but I strongly prefer not to. It is not my skill set. But I complete the workout.
Thursday: My right knee is stiff and swollen and I can barely do stairs. CURSE YOU RUNNING WOD! Taxes didn't happen last night, either. Izzy delivers the elk track soaps to the brewery today and brings home the check. Yes! I deposit the check via phone. This is the single-most important development in technology, I swear. I HATE going to the bank. Every time I deposit a check with my phone, it feels like a goddamned miracle.
Friday: Finally, Friday! I realize that it's tax day and now I'm in serious trouble. Check Facebook--note that another friend did hers, but someone commented that tax day this year is extended to the 18th. WHAAAAAAAAT? I relax considerably, and promise myself I will finish them tonight anyway. Go to the gym, despite my knee. They modify the workout for me so as not to exacerbate the knee. Come home. Feel a bit better.
Saturday: Have you been reading along this whole time? Yeah, the taxes didn't get finished on Friday night. Who was I kidding? Nothing happens on Friday night! I can barely eat dinner, much less do taxes. I did sleep until I woke up, however, and it felt so amazing. I eat breakfast and THEN I actually complete the taxes. Whew! A friend from high school tells me she's at her hotel (we had planned to meet when she came here for her work conference), so I pick her up because it's snowing heavily, and we go out to eat and then on a driving tour of Denver. Nice to catch up. I spend the rest of the day reading Authority by Nathan Barry. If you are interested in writing a book, I recommend you read his. I now realize his packages are a bit pricey--I got the book for free. (That is not an affiliate link--I just think it's a good book). I have already written and published three books myself, but there is no harm in learning new things, checking out the new way of doing things, etc. Plans in action. In my head. It's Saturday and I finished my taxes.
Week of April 3 - 9, 2016
Sunday: I did NOT go to the gym, as yesterday was hard enough, catching my breath, and I needed to get laundry together. My husband and I made a list of what soaps needed to be made this week. We have 2 private label orders, one of which is for 3.5 batches of soap. The other order is for one batch, and for the first order, we need to make that batch of soap to sell the other half as wholesale for the first order.
We are also out of a couple of soaps on the shelf. I am very glad my husband is feeling better.
I write and send my email newsletters, and otherwise do housework to get ready for the week.
Monday: Back to work! 5am comes really early, doesn't it? I slog through my day, glad to see the children again after two weeks away. Stay late after school, work on my lipstick challenge video. Amazingly, I finish recording, updating, editing, and uploading before 4pm. Miracles do happen. Go home, change into derby clothes, promote video on social media, eat dinner, go to roller derby practice. OMG I HAVE MISSED DERBY SO MUCH. Feel good, drive home, take a shower, go to bed.
Tuesday: OMG IT'S SO EARLY. 5am is an inhumane hour to wake up. Seriously. Off to work, work work work, stay late and work on research for MY NEW PROJECT! You guys are going to love it.
Wednesday: It is amazing what a person can accomplish after having a good night of sleep. All the good work, coming home after finishing homework after school, easy night at home. Husband has made all of the private label batches, and only needs to make one more of our standard batches for all of those orders to go out. Excellent.
Thursday: I am starting to panic because I have to attend a gala (don't ask) on Saturday night and I don't have a dress. I don't have a dress because a) I don't wear dresses and b) I don't attend galas (generally speaking) and c) what has my life come to. I give up and go to Macy's, where I find a few options on clearance and I ask the lovely lady working there for advice. The one dress that I picked out that is appropriate fit me perfectly, so I buy it. $22 on clearance. Take that, gala.
Friday: It is amazing how much more relaxed I am after having purchased that dress. It was weighing on me, because I hate clothes shopping and I have other things to do. I realize, since it's Friday, that I will probably not accomplish the crafting goals I set for myself this week, but I'm glad my husband did. After work, I realize that I have to start on our taxes. Go to the gym, go home, gather up receipts, nearly burst into tears, realize I am in over my head, and collapse. Tomorrow I will start the taxes.
Saturday: Up early and off to the gym. I think I live there now. Come home, feeling great, eat, and then go to my wax appointment. Spend the rest of the day sorting receipts and fretting about makeup. Finally start to get ready, and it ends up that I look okay. I remind myself that this gala is not celebrating ME, and everyone will not be staring at ME, and when I get there I realize there are very few glamour queens there and also, is life a competition? No, it is not. Have a lovely evening, get home at 11:30, in bed at midnight.
Week of 3/27-4/2/2016
Monday: Up and at 'em at the gym. I finish the blog entry for last week and send it, as well as sending the soap newsletter. (Click here to sign up!) Spent the day visiting with Mom. In the evening, my husband and I left our daughter with grandma and grandpa (who promised to make kettle corn), and we went to the pub quiz in Iowa City to meet our good friends Heather and Mark, and also meet up again with my brother and his fiancé. It was a super fun time visiting with good friends, so we will call that a win.
Tuesday: My husband had a bad night and didn't sleep well, so it was on me to find some steaks for our dinner that evening. Dad was out golfing, so I was hanging out with Mom. I convinced her to come with me to drive to the grocery store, saying she didn't have to get out, she could just enjoy the drive. She agreed to this plan, and I took the scenic back roads to the store, to entertain her. Got home, woke my husband, he preps the food and grills steaks for us all. He also made guacamole out of the then perfectly-ripe avocados. Excellent.
Wednesday: Rainy, grey day. Up and to the gym in the morning. Otherwise, spent the entire day hanging out at home with Mom. She talked the entire time with my husband--they love to tell stories. We looked at some old photos, admired some of her antiques, ate leftovers. It was a lazy day, and much-needed.
Thursday: As it is the last day of the month, I get out my planner which I brought along (see this video for more planner info), and logged my statistics for the previous month, track income, set goals, etc. I realize that I have posted a grand total of ZERO videos in March. Vow to correct that for the next month. Mom has a chemo appointment today, so we as a family go to Iowa City to see my brother again. He is prepared for our arrival with my daughter--he has the Wii U set up with Mario Kart. We have a wonderful visit with him, playing video games (my daughter now says my brother is "awesome"), eating ham sandwiches, and meeting his dogs and his cat, Mr. Twisty. For and otherwise stressful trip, this day is relaxing for us. We have to get home at a decent hour, though, because it's our last evening there and we have to get ready to leave tomorrow. We spend the evening at home watching Antiques Roadshow with Mom.
Friday: We get up, we pack. We hit the road. I drive the entire way, since my husband was the only driver when they came out. He was the DJ for the trip. We stopped twice, the first time for both gas and lunch, and we make it home to Denver in good time. We check the refrigerator at home and realize that Grandma, who stayed back to watch the kitties and chickens, is only one person and cannot eat the eggs from so many chickens. We pack up 5 dozen eggs and give them away to our surrounding neighbors. I get take-out burritos for us for dinner, and then collapse. It has been a difficult trip.
The house feels very different without the dog.
Saturday: I sleep for about 9 hours, and then realize that I did not get 1 night of complete sleep on my trip. Feeling somewhat groggy but good, I head to the gym. Great workout, breathing is difficult back at altitude, but it makes me feel fantastic. Husband texts me, asking if I can pick up some menudo for him. I do so, and of course, also pick up some Mexican pastries, because this panaderia is awesome. Come home, my stomach is growling, fix myself some eggs and eat my feelings about the dog in pastries.
Immediately vow to stop eating my feelings.
I take a nap (for real!), then get up and pack the soap orders. Realize I have to make serum for one of the orders, and also that my mom asked for some serum, so I set myself to the task to make that. Check the email, and we have another private label order, for 3 batches of soap, plus 24! Can my husband do it? He says yes, this week is all soap-making for him, and he's feeling much better so he knows he will have the strength to do it.
Serum-making project in full effect. During this project, my husband comes back early from his shopping trip, frantically looking for his phone. He suspects he left it in the grocery store, but then says, "I set it on the hood of the car just for a minute when we were getting ready..." I wish I had a photo of my face at that moment. Let me see if I can recreate it.
So I run and get the laptop and go to iCloud and use the "find my phone" feature, and there it is, at the end of our street. I trot down to find it, hoping that it flew off onto the grass somewhere. No.
It is in the middle of the street. Glass-side down.
I walk back and show him what his carelessness has wrought, and I am so mad I can't speak. I send him off to finish the grocery shopping while I run to the AT & T store because I know I have insured these phones, I just know it, it's part of our plan, right? The dude gives me the information I need, I come home, attempt to make the claim online, but can't figure my passcode, what? What is a phone passcode? Anyway, reset that, try to file the claim again, hey! They just add the deductible to next month's bill. What good fortune with that--we have 2 private label orders and a show this month, so we will be able to pay it. I'm still mad, though.
Back to my serum project. I get all the way to labeling, but not shrink-wrapping, and it's time for my husband to make dinner, so I decide I'll shrink wrap them tomorrow. Dinner, movie (Avengers: The Age of Ultron), and then collapse again. A surprisingly productive day.
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Who writes this?
Hi, I'm Amy Kalinchuk. I am an author, publisher, crafter, entrepreneur, roller derby skater, wife, mom, and friend. I try to be organized and maintain an air of enviable breezy elegance. I do not always succeed. But crafting? I can do that. And small business. I can do that, too. So can you! No, seriously, you can do this! I'll show you.