Monday, 4 February 2013

The Clinic is empty - for now: so here is a catch up

This morning, TW Bear was reunited with his Forever Friend, Mrs. AW - leaving the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing #791241850) without a patient (for the first time since October 2012).  There may well be another patient coming in shortly - his Forever Friend (a fellow Zumbette - that's what our Zumba Leader calls us!) may well be introducing us at this week's Zumba session tomorrow.

Edward Bear joining in the traditional Farewell picture

This means I've got a breathing space in which to create some replacement Foxes (Ladies and Gentlemen), Coyotes (so far only Gentlemen have featured) and Gentlemen Rabbits, a Frog or two and maybe some new Cuddlies which are lining up in the background.

The new TW Bear
TW Bear when he arrived in November 2012

However, before I set to with scissors, needle and thread, perhaps this is a good time for a post catching up with overall developments in the ColdhamCuddlies world of Shop and Blog.  Our Followers (293 of them when I checked earlier today - let's see if we can get it to 300 before our second anniversary arrives early in March!) - may recall that in our final post for 2012 (December 31, 2012) I mentioned the offer of help to heighten our profile on Etsy from Joel Barnett ( of Boise, Idaho.  True to his word, early in January we got together and the first task he set me was to increase by Etsy Circles. He also suggested I took a good look at some of my photographs in the Shop.   As usual, I didn't have a clue where to begin with the Circles, but with some guidance I set off - and have definitely become addicted to this form of marketing!  It is terribly time-consuming however - but it's keeping me well occupied.

On the photography side:  well I found a Photography book - The Crafter's Guide to taking Great Photos on line and sent away for it via Amazon.  It arrived when I was well involved in the Circling adventure, and it has so far just sat on my desk waiting closer inspection.  I will do something about the pictures:  but at the moment, am having too much fun elsewhere!  As the days go by, I realise just how important good, crisp, clear pictures are for selling on line and INTEND to do it properly - soon!

My modus operandi is to choose Shops that are already in a goodly number of Circles - after all, it is all about spreading the world, is it not?  There are so many Shops involved, that I've set myself the task of adding those with 200 or more Circles to begin with.  At the beginning of this particular exercise, I was in something like 136 Circles;  as of today, the number is 472, so there is a result!  I think it is working - because I am being added to many more circles than of yore, without me adding them first.  I'm finding that  Circles with less than 200 members are now adding me to their Circles, (as well as those I've approached first) and I reciprocate to them ALL (and tell them so).  I've responded to EVERYONE who has been kind enough to add me to their own Circles, and invited them to visit this blog.  Many have - which has resulted in another 20 or so Followers here since the beginning of this year!

 Last week also,saw Cuddlies included in 3 different Treasuries curated by folks other than fellow Etsy Team members, which is where the Cuddlies have been treasured  before.  Now I have to admit that Treasuries have defeated me to date, but doing the Circling has opened my eyes up to how one can add fellow Treasures to one's Circles, so am seriously telling myself to sit down and have a go.  Just need another 24 hours to each day, maybe, but I'll really have a go - SOON!

The best thing as far as I am concerned is that I've discovered some truly amazing crafts being offered all over the world, met some fascinating people and been given some truly useful links which may lead to an expansion of the ColdhamCuddlies activities.  One of my new Circle friends suggested I should visit two book publishing sites which are involved with childrens' publishing.  Now this is something I've been minded to explore - but only once I've got more blogging material on record.  Have considered 250 posts as a good starting point:  we're currently at 184 with this post.  One of these publishing links is actually The Society for Childrens' Book Writing and Illustration - headquartered in the USA, but with a regional branch in the UK.  Really sounds promising, and I've filed it (and the other one away for future research and development).

Edward Bear  and Cy Bear - before Edward goes home
Carrying on the theme of new friends and potential publishing developments, at the week-end, one of my new Circle acquaintances mentioned that she found the contents of our blog ( "engaging" and that it had made her smile.  She also added some other nice compliments - to the point that I wrote back and requested permission to quote her as and when I do decide to go ahead with the publishing venture.  McKenzie and Ricky Cook Petersen operate from and are located  somewhere in Missouri!  Ricky is the person who has been so encouraging and helpful:  what's more, she doesn't blog - so can truly be described as an "independent supporter" when I quote her kind words.  Family and friends' views are important, but on such occasions can be regarded as being biased, possibly!

So, the last month has been engaged in proving what a friendly and helpful bunch folks can be on Etsy - and I've tried to behave in similar fashion when Newbies have added me to their Circles.  I know how difficult I found it to begin with, and just hope they will be as lucky as I have been in finding their feet and guidance from similar, such widespread, Etsy sources.

I'll be back, with Cy Bear in tow, shortly with a description of TW Bear's treatment - probably in at least two installments - but in the interim would encourage everyone who has read this to visit the two Etsy sites  mentioned here.  They have some unusual articles on offer and a visit will not be an unproductive venture!

Final Picture of the Threesome before Edward goes home tomorrow
 Bye for now.  Isobel