Postal Disruption

Important note to customers: The shop is closed for an undetermined duration of time due to the possibility of an upcoming Canada Post service disruption. If not resolved, new shipments/delivery of parcels already in the mailstream beginning on July 2 will be halted. Since my shop relies on postal delivery service to my customers, I have made the decision to close the shop until this postal disruption is over, so as to avoid any waylaid packages.

If you live locally and wish to place an order, please contact me to arrange order pickup.

Thanks! article

My journals were included in an article on!

Thank you for the feature, Mr. Cooper... I feel honoured.

getting ready for the craft show

I've been bookbinding my brains out to prepare for the upcoming 21st Annual Seaside Craft Show/Market (Sept. 19, 20) at the Seaside Recreation/Community Centre in Beach Meadows/Eagle Head.

It'll be my 4th year selling there. My stock of books is quite low, as I've not been binding much for a while, due to time and energy constraints. Time to increase the inventory a bit, so I can offer some unique books at the show!

Just a few of the new books I'll be offering...

... and for the door prize, an itsy bitsy journal. :)

Shop closed for the weekend

Hello everyone! In preparation for the upcoming craft show this weekend, my online shop will be closed. It will re-open on Monday.

This will be my 3rd year at the Annual Seaside Craft Show. It's coming up on Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 20 & 21 (Sat 10-4, Sun 11-4) at the Seaside Center in Beach Meadows, NS. Last year was wonderful, and this year looks to be just as great! I love it so much, it's the only craft show that I do.

If you live in the area, come enjoy the local crafts and support your local artisans. Enjoy the yummy foodies (complimentary tea/coffee, and amazing homemade fish chowder and chili, sweets, etc.). Find a treasure for yourself or a friend. There's something for everyone!

I'll try to take some photos, to share later.

Sigh. Etsy's at it again...

First of all I must apologize, because it seems like I only blog here when there are issues with Etsy, but it seems like issues are happening A LOT lately with that venue. It is very frustrating and discouraging, especially as a long-time Etsy seller (since 2007). Etsy doesn't seem to really take seller's opinions into consideration either, it seems.

Now, every time I log in, it seems like the shop layouts are different. This is confusing for our potential customers, and for us (it's hard to navigate my own shop!). Apparently they are testing new designs over the summer. None of them really improve on what was, in my opinion. And it seems like other sellers agree. The forum is lit up with upset sellers. Here is my favourite post, which I feel accurately explains what I feel about the new design issues:
Since this is a question forum, I thought it might be a good place to ask, why do we hate the test and what is has done to our shops. Here are the reasons I hate the new look:
1) The banner is gone. Etsy has told us from day one to brand ourselves. By taking our banners away, they have effectively removed part of our brand. Why? Some people on Etsy even sell banners. What's that doing to their business?

2) The search field is missing from our front page. Not the Etsy site search field - of course that one is still front and center, but the search field that allows a search within our own shop. So if a customer does not like what they see on the page and wants to search, they immediately leave our shop. Not cool.

3) The sections are now pictures and not true 'sections'. This only confuses the customer. How many customers now buy without reading anything at all. Some people don't read that they are actual sections and not just a single item for sale. It looks now like I have just a few items for sale, not the over 100 that I worked so hard to put into my shop so it looks like a full store. Why tell me I need to show a full store when you took that away so effectively?

4) Why do we need a number beside "favorite shop" that shows the world how many people have Favorited us? I have three shops, one is now and I don't mind that not many people have found it yet, but those numbers do nothing for the customer community and only cause confusion.

5) The shop looks unprofessional, like someone programmed it who is new to HTML programming and only knows how to place a few images up for people to see. It looks like someone who might have a new store online and does not yet know how to show what the store should look like.

6) With the new test comes another problem for people who sell supplies. Did you notice that now you cannot search Etsy directly for supplies? The only thing you can click to start is vintage or handmade. To get to supplies you must first click "All Categories" and only then can you click supplies.

7) Back to taking away our brand, by doing so, you have taken away our individualness. (I made a new word, forgive me.) I have actually had customers that did not know Etsy was not one big mall. They did not know Etsy was made up of lots of small stores that sold their own products. Taking away our brand only serves to reinforce that idea.

8) The layout is not user friendly. I have asked several people who were not sellers to navigate the site and tell me what they thought. They were confused as to how to purchase. They did not get it and got lost right away.
My addition....
9) No more "shop announcements" section? What if you want to announce a discount, sale or special? What if you're soon going on vacation and want to give your customers a heads up before turning you shop on 'vacation mode'? Again, NOT cool.

There you have all the reasons I hate Etsy's new look. Now in closing, I do want to add that I am not against a new look in the least. Just not THIS look. As sellers, we do know a bit of what works and what doesn't. This one doesn't. Please listen to us and know that there are valid reasons we hate it. Maybe even think about having a panel of sellers on your team to help give you their ideas once you are ready to release a test? Who better to work together than someone who knows what works with someone who wants to improve things? Please Etsy, please look at things from our point of view. It surely can't hurt to try a little objectivity in your process of testing.

Shipping frustrations and new policies forthcoming...

When my shop re-opens in the new year, I have made the difficult decision to no longer offer shipping to any international destination - outside of Canada or USA - without charging for insured/traceable shipping! While it is very expensive for my customers (more than the cost of a journal!) and will most likely discourage them from purchasing from me, I feel that I have no recourse. To me, this is sad, because I have been blessed with so many excellent experiences with the majority of my international customers.

I ship all of my packages via Airmail, since it's the most economical for my international customers. However, it does NOT including tracking, insurance, or on-time delivery. I make sure I notify all of my customers of this fact, in case they would prefer to cancel their order and not take the risk, or wish to upgrade to a guaranteed form of shipping. CanadaPost estimates the amount of time it takes for Airmail to deliver a package to a certain destination, however, on-time delivery is not guaranteed. Delays during the holidays are particularly prone to occur.

Despite the fact this information is clearly listed in my Shop Policies, I've had to deal with a few international customers opening Paypal cases against me for a full refund of their purchase, due to delays in delivery, assuming their packages are lost in the mail. What upsets me is that the clearly stated policies of a small business online shop are deemed irrelevant if a customer files a Paypal claim. The seller is, basically, left helpless.

Such was the case, recently. A customer from another country purchased a journal from me. I shipped it via Airmail, as I always do. I notified the customer of the estimated delivery time offered by CanadaPost, and also forewarned there may be delays at customs due to the holiday season. Fine. Sure enough this customer opens a Paypal claim/case, stating they feel their journal was 'lost in the mail', despite the fact it's still within the time frame CanadaPost has estimated it to arrive to that international destination. Paypal will most likely side with the customer, who says they have not received their item. I do not doubt that it has not yet arrived, but shouldn't a customer who has been told of the Shipping Policies of my store, be responsible for that fact? Or am I just being naive? The fact it's all stated in my Shop Policies seems to make no difference. It doesn't seem to be a binding agreement in Paypal's eyes - even though I state that a purchase from my shop is a binding agreement to those policies. I encourage all my customers to read and understand them PRIOR to purchase. Most, I'm sure, do not. So sometimes I wonder why I even bother having them there.

In fact, Paypal has already docked my account for the amount I received for the product (saying it's "on hold" until the case is decided). So... I'm out of a journal and the time, material, and money I spent to create it. The journal will most likely still be delivered eventually and so the customer will have a free journal! In any case like this, the seller is at the mercy of the buyer's honesty (or lack thereof). I am hoping they will still remit payment, should the journal happen to arrive, which it most likely will.

Thankfully, this has not happened often...but when it does, it really upsets me. So it's definitely time to do something about it. It's either NO shipping outside of Canada/USA -OR- extremely high prices to ensure tracking and insurance to international destinations. Either way, I lose... and my international customers too.

I feel badly, because the majority of my international customers have been great, recognizing the risks of shipping across borders. As is most always the case, a few have to spoil it for the rest. :(

Seaside Craft Market 2013

The Seaside Craft Market went well over the weekend, but not nearly as well as last year's. Everyone was talking about the reduced attendance - about half as many people as last year. There were other events going on in our community this time around, on the same weekend, which probably explains why. Also the weather was much nicer this year than last year; I mean, who wants to be inside on a nice day, right?

We enjoyed Sunday a bit more than Saturday, mainly because it was much cooler (less humid), but also because it was slightly busier for us on Sunday, compared to Saturday.

All in all, it was a great show. So many awesome local artists!

Annual Seaside Craft Show

I'm really looking forward to being a part of the 20th Annual Seaside Craft Show this weekend (Sat 10-4, Sun 11-4) in Beach Meadows. Last year's show was wonderful, and this year looks to be just as great! 

This year, I'm excited that my friend Amanda of Little Scamp's Made by Hand Gifts will be there exhibiting her amazingly intricate handmade fishing flies, duct tape wallets and jewelry. Also, my brother-in-law Jason, owner/operator of Earthstone Engravers, will be there with his beautiful handcrafted stone products.

Come enjoy the local crafts, the yummy foodies, and find a treasure for yourself or a friend. There's something for everyone! 

For more info, go to

(My online shop will be closed during the weekend.)

New Shop & New Journal

Things have been hopping here. Besides binding, and preparing for an upcoming craftshow, I've been busily setting up my storefront over at Storenvy. I've finally completed it. Also, my domain is now referring visitors directly to my shop there. While I still have my Etsy shop open, I am gradually going to be phasing things out there, as I want my Storenvy shop to take center stage. Please take a peek and tell me what you think! :-)

I've also created a new journal, with "green thumbs" in mind. It's my Gardener's Journal - a terrific place to record gardening triumphs and occasional setbacks. Perfect for the gardener in your life! I'm really happy with it, as it was inspired by my dear friends who love to dig in the earth. 

Etsy's new rating system gets "zero stars"

...not only from me, but many others.

Etsy recently implented a new Shop Rating system, replacing it's former Feedback system (positive, neutral, negative). It is now strikingly similar to Ebay and Amazon's seller rating system, where you can rate your transaction experience with one ("disappointed"), two ("not a fan"), three ("it's okay"), four ("like it"), or five ("love it") stars.

I have been a member of Etsy since 2007. True, there have been many changes since then, both large and small... I have weathered and rolled with all them. However, this is the first time I have been disappointed by a change that Etsy has made, as it seems to strike at the very heart of what Etsy, as a handmade marketplace, stands for. I am VERY disappointed.

My shop has carried 100% feedback with almost 2200 sales and 1042 positive feedback (equivalent to 5/5 stars
). But as many have already pointed out, it is VERY rare that someone leaves a five-star rating, no matter how good the service/product... and yet, I feel that potential buyers will misconstrue a 4-star shop with less than acceptable service or products, as many do on Ebay and Amazon. I much prefer the old feedback setting, where you could either leave positive, neutral, negative feedback... none of this wishy-washy stuff that can be misconstrued by potential customers. 

The so-called "new and improved" feedback system is not fair to either the seller or the buyer. It strips the positive feedback that our customers have worked so hard for (and also many Etsy shop keepers who are also buyers on Etsy!). As well, it removes our right as sellers to defend ourselves against unfair feedback, should that ever occur. For the majority of sellers on Etsy, the closest connection we have to the customer is being able to leave glowing feedback for them, and vice versa. That is being withdrawn from us with this new system.

There is a discussion on the Etsy forum about this new rating system. I appreciated what this individual had to say:
"What a mess!! So most buyers will leave 3 & 4 star ratings which buyers think are absolutely reasonable even if the seller gives discounts, free shipping and gifts. This was proven on Ebay to the point where for example, they had to force 5 stars to be automatic if free shipping was built into the listing.

A few buyers will use the feedback leverage to blackmail sellers into giving whatever their creative little hearts will deem appropriate to prevent poor ratings. It only takes a few of those to knock out a seller's reputation.

Sellers become anxious, annoyed, insulted, defensive.......

Buyers can't understand why sellers don't seem to be as flexible, generous or responsive as they used to be....buyers become anxious, annoyed, insulted, defensive.......

All evaluations are highly subjective, personal, emotional, critical, manipulative.......
Comments help with self reflection.....but with anything less than 5 stars those stars become weapons and will be felt that way by sellers and used as such by buyers.

Admin. keeps asking that we give it a chance. I would suggest that thousands of Etsy's sellers are very experienced in the ways of selling their products online. I personally have over 10 years of selling on Ebay and Etsy. When I see a car coming at me on the road I know to step out of the way. For Admin. to say just stand there and see what happens sounds very foolish to me."

Well said!

If you haven't already guessed, I am averse to this new rating system in every way. If Etsy doesn't change it, I am actually considering looking for another venue to sell my items. I have heard many shop owners have already closed their shops or put them in 'vacation mode' hoping Etsy will do something, in the meantime.