Saturday, 30 January 2010
Why is life so confusing? It dawned on me when I was looking at my Big Cartel shop that, unlike Etsy and Folksy, you couldn't see what I was charging for postage and packaging before you bought from me. It has always been stated on my 'shop policies' page that I would refund any excess, and that is still the case, but I decided the simplest way to tackle this problem is to have a fixed rate postal charge as default. Most of my items were costing similar to post anyway so I have adopted that rate:
Within the UK, the first item will be charged at £1.75 and any additional items at an additional 50p each. For international sales I'm charging £2.25 for the first item and 50p additional for each other item. As I've said, if this turns out to be too much, then I'll refund the excess. Can't say fairer than that.
When I get a minute I'll add the postage rates to the bottom of each item, just to make it as plain as possible.
Has anyone found a better way to sort this problem?
Friday, 29 January 2010
5.15pm, at the front of my house a huge black cloud descends. Husband comes into our lounge with a cup of tea (well trained) and comments that it is far brighter at the back of our house. We live in a small terraced house, not a giant palace; it's not many paces from one side to the other.
No storm, no snow. Just breezy in the back garden,stillness in the front. And very very cold.
So strange to be under the edge of a dark cloud.
If there is one thing I hate about holidays, it's that the bed is sure to be too hard for me and I won't get any sleep. Whilst I agree that nights are for partying, some of us still sleep at some stage over a 24 hour period. I find I do more sleeping than partying these days, it must be old age creeping on.
With this in mind I have, for some time, been thinking that the answer might be a memory foam mattress topper, small enough to be stored between holidays, thick enough to be useful. For ages, months, that's all I did ... think! Realising that I am about to go on holiday again soon, I thought (thinking again) that I ought to put thought into deed and get on with buying one of these things. It's not as easy as you think. How big do you want, how thick, how dense? Dense doesn't necessarily make for good, 3" of cheap foam can be less effective than 2" of high quality foam; it just got more and more confusing.
So, I asked my Folksy colleagues for advice, which they duly gave. Having read, researched, thought, compared and dithered - some of these things are mega-bucks - I came across a company, Raskelf, who made them for caravans, trucks etc and thus they were intended to be rolled and stored away. I emailed for some more advice (I emailed a few companies but these were the only one to respond) and they called me back next day to discuss . Meanwhile someone mentioned their dog had a memory foam pet bed, and Raskelf made these too.
I duly ordered, having added a storage bag, to keep my new best friend clean, and a pet bed for my arthritic cat to my order. We agreed delivery for today so I could be here for the courier delivery and, good to their word, it arrived this morning.
Charlie was sceptical at first, despite me bribing him with treats to sit on it. He was having none of it and I was beginning to think this would be as successful as the water fountain I bought him to encourage him to drink more. He's moaned and meowed about the rain showers, lack of seconds for lunch and generally been a PITA, unlike his brother who studies the insides of his eyelids for a hobby, second only to food. Then it's been quiet for 10 minutes. Has he left home? Has something happened to him? Is he unwell? Nope. The minute my back is turned, he's moved into his new bed and is zzzz-ing surrounded by his cat nip toys (of which there are many). Seems Charlie's bed is a success then. Excellent roll up cat nip toys are available from Osha on Etsy, my gugs love them and they are refillable and washable.
I will not be posting pictures of me curled up in my bed with the memory foam mattress, although I will try it out for size tonight. No, the world is not yet ready for the sight of me in bed.
Teddy, meanwhile, sleeps on anything.
Finally the decorating is finished and my 'office' is sort of back to normal. Well, as normal I ever get.
The room is tiny, it's still dark outside (with little promise of a sunny day at the moment) so the photos are pretty poor but they give a flavour. I forgot to save the 'before' photo so you'll have to take my word that this is a million times better than before ~ battleship grey (or was that bluebell white?) walls, yellowing 'white' paint, a white wooden curtain pole and some peachy-creamy tab curtains. The ceiling was covered in 1960s bubbly paper and once was home to a ceiling rose but now showed a star of paper cuts. I'm not selling well, am I?
Now, I was working to a budget so lets not go too mad. I thought to ask the plasterer how much to plaster over the bubbly ceiling paper before he trotted over to give a formal quote and then, in a Fagin moment was 'reviewing the situation'! I found a ceiling rose in Focus that already came with a big hole to fit over the light fitting that was there, with a bit of tweaking with a Stanley knife it fitted and was stuck over the light fitting without the need for an electrician to remove the bits and bobs for me. Several coats of white paint later [tip, avoid Focus basic emulsion, it was less brilliant white than the old painted ceiling, do buy the white that goes on pink so you can see where you've been, it's brilliant, and brilliant white]. Big save on not using a pasterer until vitally necessary.
I dithered over whether I should use the Dulux Light & Space Lunar Falls yellow or the Mint Whisper green. Fate decided, only Lunar Falls was in stock. It did take 3 coats to cover the battleship grey though. I'm a convert to Dulux Satinwood, easier for an idiot (me) to use than gloss so the woodwork is now white and not Nicotine Beige. My budget didn't run to a new carpet which is light brown, but it's what my mother would have called 'serviceable', and it doesn't show the dirt. A quick Vax and it was a slightly lighter shade of brown.
I discovered decorating a room less than 7 foot square is harder and takes longer than a large room; you have to keep stopping to move things around.
My new desk is a piece of black and grey gloss kitchen worktop off Freecycle so matched the budget and was good karma. My new storage, Elfa baskets were a bit expensive but worth it as I now have a dedicated post area. I already had the frames and some baskets, others are in use elsewhere around the house so I bought some more and made myself get organised. Now I can easily get to my shop stock, so much better than stacking boxes that didn't stack well and took up a lot of space. They are on castors so I can wheel them out of the way if ever I need to get to the bottom shelf of the book case.
There's still some sorting to be done but I'm now back and functioning. I'm going to make a keyboard tray to go under my worktop table as the table is a little higher than I wanted but had to go over a 2 drawer filing cabinet - I can make that from a kit I've discovered in Homebase and the old mouse shelf on my old desk. I think my trusty jig saw, £10 from Focus will just about manage that if I am careful.
Has it been worth a week's upheaval? You bet.
As promised, the last of the goodie bag prizes have been put together in one envelope and a name drawn from the hat by husband as he shot out of the door this morning ...
and the winner is ...
Vintage Milly. Everything left in the goody bag will be wrapped and posted on to you as soon as I have your name and address.