Today I am sitting here in my studio with the sun going down crazy early. Only 1 more day of that and we will start going the other way. Thank goodness. I just finished sweeping, wiping, and washing my work table and floor so that it is clean and ready to mess up again after the holiday season is over. I am really looking forward to getting back into the studio after New Year's to start painting all the ceramics I have made but didn't have enough time to finish up for my holiday sales.
I am not much for end of the year wrap ups like many people are. I don't obsess about what went wrong and what was successful. I just like to move on and see what comes next. I have been thinking about what I am going to work towards in the new year and how I am going to accomplish it. At this point, I am not thinking at all about writing another book. I have been rather discouraged with the sales on my last book. I have yet to get a royalty statement (that comes in February) but I do know that the book didn't get covered by the press as much as the last one. That is discouraging - as you can imagine - after all the blood sweat and tears I put into it as an author. But then there is a lot in life that is discouraging and if I let it get me down, it will just depress me. So it means it is time to move on and see what else is out there for me to make and do and learn.
I see my little internet based world changing slowly as I look at it from my vantage point down here in the basement of our farmhouse. Podcasts - the "new thing" (they really aren't the new thing - they have been around for years) and what everyone is trying to convince the old bloggers (that would be me) to take up aren't for me right now. I love to listen to them as I work but I don't want to host one - too much editing and time on the computer to take away from things that interest me right now. (I spend enough time on my computer with fabric design, blogging, communications, and updating my on-line commerce sites.) I will gladly chat on a podcast but I have not interest in hosting one.
That said, I am sad to see that Kathy and Steve Elkins from Webs are discontinuing their podcast Ready Set Knit. I was on their show several times and they were always so kind to me at helping to promote my latest book or venture. I don't blame them for stopping their podcast - they took up podcasting when it was fresh and new and did it for 12 years. Lots of times, you just run your cycle and you aren't new anymore and people just aren't interested in what you are talking about. I doubt people stopped listening to their podcast - I think their business is going in a different direction with the acquisition of Tahki/Stacy Charles Yarn Company. Yay - Donegal Tweed continues - one of my favorite yarns ever. Change is good and they have a real challenge there with taking over a wholesale biz along with a retail space in NYC.
Another change I see now is the continued growth of mobile communications and devices. It used to be that almost all of my readers of this blog were reading through a computer. More and more, I see readers coming here on tablets or mobile devices. If most readers are like I am, I open up my phone with coffee first thing in the morning while The Farmer is opening up his favorite sites on his iPad every morning. I see if anyone has posted anything new and maybe I will read it later when I have a moment. I delete anything I am not interested in right away - like the gazillion emails I have been getting for on-line shopping this holiday season - and then read what I am interested in later in the day. Seriously - is it necessary for Anthropologie to send me an email every single day? That isn't going to get me to buy anything. I will buy when I am good and ready thank you.
When I was busy promoting my holiday sales on my on-line store, I was exhausted with all the promoting I did - sending emails, putting blog posts up, posting to Instagram and Facebook every day or so. I felt bad/guilty "bothering" folks with more emails, more chatter, more images. But it worked and I sold quite a bit of pottery and tea towels and so I will probably do it again. I try to make it authentic but it all feels rather desperate to me. Perhaps it is desperate. I do know that in my life, the absolutely only time I spend money is the end of the year for the holidays. Otherwise I am just trying to make it through with all the normal stuff of life - paying for heat, electricity, food, shelter, transportation. If others are like me, I have got to go for the sales when they are easier rather than when they are impossible.
What I am thinking about doing now is changing my website www.kristinnicholas.com to a more mobile friendly set up that is more commerce based. It will be a lot of work but I think it is time. The last version of my website was done in 2013 which in internet time is severely antique. I need to move it to a platform that works better with phones and tablets. Right now I am researching Squarespace, Shopify, and Big Cartel. If anyone has any thoughts on any of those - I would really appreciate the comments. My Etsy shop did good this season and it was very easy for me to update, etc but I am not wild about Etsy and how they won't let me communicate directly with customers via my newsletter. (They don't give you the email of any of the buyers so I can't send them communications directly.) Etsy wants to keep all that information self-contained and have buyers stay on their site. That isn't a problem with those other websites. I can't blame them - they are a publicly traded company and they are beholden to their stockholders. That's what happens - good or bad. Business is business.
Mark is getting stronger every day. He is out and about and doing the chores that he can do after the hip replacement surgery and complications. He certainly isn't back to normal. He is still in a lot of physical pain because his other hip needs to be replaced. Maybe next summer. We had the sheep sheared the week after the Holiday Open House. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the photos. Here are Kevin and Jeff and the sheep before and after.
We had our first set of twins a week after shearing. This same ewe had early twins 2 years ago. The twins are doing great and there are several ewes that are looking more and more pregnant. Just a reminder - since you are probably curious about the paint on the ewe and lambs. The stripe color on the back tells the time period it was born in. The number on the side gives the number of the sheep. The color of the number identifies twin or single (blue means single, green means twin).
And so it goes again on the farm - round and round the cycle of life and loss. The sun comes up and goes down. The grass hibernates, rests, and then regrows. And that is what the people do too - find our footing once again
Thanks so much to all of you who continue to read and support my work as it ebbs and flows between making, writing, potting, textile designing, decorating and whatnot. I so appreciate all of you who read, comment or not. I wish you all the best for the holiday season.