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.


Hi folks! It's been a while since I've last posted. Not much has changed. Still creating new journals for you, and looking for inspiring quotes here and there to incorporate in my books.

Also, I've opened up a small shop here at DaWanda. Please visit, if you have a chance, and show it some love by clicking on "Add to Favourite Shops" or sharing the link via social network (the sharing links are small images at the bottom right hand corner of my shop's page).

Though I don't have much listed yet, my shop at DaWanda will feature ALL 'made-to-order' journals, whereas all my ready-made journals and made-to-order options will still be available over at my Etsy shop.

DaWanda is set up similar to Etsy, featuring artisan/handmade items along with some supplies and vintage items. Though it caters more to the European market (it functions on a German platform), it's available to customers and sellers worldwide.

While I love Etsy, it has become very popular and so many are selling there now. As a result, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle, so to speak. I thought it would be nice to offer my journals in a different setting.