Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Annual State of The Attic Address

Why hello there, lovely readers! My name is Lynne, and I just wanted to let you all know that it'll be me doing the writing today and not the insomniac. She's down in the scullery making another pot of coffee, desperately trying to come up with a topic for her next blog post. So I thought I'd take this opportunity (and rather rare occurrence of a vacant computer chair) to sit down and chat with you about some important Business Information - the kind of boring details the insomniac  prefers not to think about and which generally get chucked in my general direction for handling. That would be all the fun things like bookkeeping, income tax returns and all of the heavy lifting when “we” set up and tear down at markets. Although I may share a few personality traits with the insomniac, let's be brutally honest here - the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor with that one.

To introduce myself, I'm the brains behind Insomniac's Attic - The Shoppe. New readers may not even realize that back in the beginning this blog was actually updated weekly (I know, right?) and written solely to showcase new products arriving in The Attic that week. And if you go back to the very first post from four years ago (which I'd rather you didn't because it's kind of embarrassing) it's quite evident I'm not a particularly good writer and it was pretty dull fare. But somewhere between then and now, the insomniac  showed up and took over the writing of the blog, and it slowly evolved into something that became less about showcasing new products in The Attic and more about the little things going on in our lives. She started sharing personal stuff I never would have even considered publishing on the internet, and now it's become embarrassing in a whole different way. Which, judging by the Blogger Stats which I actually read and the insomniac  totally disregards, are quite popular posts - although to me, they seem about as boring as the ones I used to write. But that's just my personal opinion.

Back when The Attic opened four years ago this February, our Canadian dollar was at an all-time high and actually worth three cents more than the US dollar. But these days things are far different, and the Canadian dollar usually hovers around and sometimes under 70 cents US. As you can imagine, by the time shipping fees, taxes and duties are added onto a wholesale order, it's practically impossible to compete with other retailers in the US selling the same items. What this means for Insomniac's Attic customers is that orders from regular US suppliers will be temporarily discontinued until such time as our Canadian dollar makes a recovery. Financial Experts are predicting at least another year before that happens and, even then, it'll probably be a while before we're even close to being back on par. And this I know for a fact, being the Financial Wizard that I am. Or maybe because I've lived through this same scenario a few times already, being somewhat old-ish.

During these uncertain economic times, some items will remain Out of Stock on the website, and by the time our dollar recovers may no longer be available from that particular wholesaler. Because although you and I might always have a need for Flourish Skulls or Claw Candlestick Holders, wholesalers are notoriously fickle and generally discontinue items after a season or two. Possessing the keen Business Acumen that I do, I'm predicting that will probably happen right around the time our dollar catches up and I can finally start purchasing new stock again.

While we're on the subject of the website (which is so badly out of date it's not even funny anymore - and just try to guess who handles that  part of the business), I've finally managed to convince the insomniac  it desperately needs a complete overhaul. Most of the pictures need retaking now that we have a new-ish camera; items no longer available from wholesalers need to be removed; new categories added and others discontinued, with those products needing to be put on sale. But trying to coax her into sitting down and working on the website is like pulling teeth ... she'd rather be knitting, or sewing, or coming up with some insane idea for something else we can carry in The Attic. That being said, she's practically finished updating the Taxidermy Category (which obviously she chose to work on first because it's one of the smaller ones), and once it goes live you can bet I'll be all over it, sharing the link and information about any sale items on the Insomniac's Attic FB Page, the maintenance of which falls under my job description. Because I take my job seriously - unlike some people around here. As a side note, all the Social Media platforms we engage with on a regular basis are listed on the tabs at the top of this blog. Google+ not being one of them.

So anyways, while I was attempting to explain to the insomniac  that despite this being the time of year when emails come pouring in for wholesale shows, new spring catalogues, etc. we wouldn't be traveling anywhere nor ordering much in the way of new stock, primarily because this is the year Revenue Canada expects to see The Attic start turning a profit and no longer running in the red. She got pretty pouty about that at first, and I can almost guarantee that if I don't keep a firm grip on the situation, the next thing you know she'll be up here on the computer stealthily ordering just a few more petticoats, networking with a local artist for some exclusive IA Gothic tea towels, and applying for a new wholesale account with a Canadian company who looked to have some marvelous little Gothic cabinets in the latest issue of Canadian Retailer magazine. But still tiny enough so the shipping costs don't leave us all gasping for air. 

When she finally stopped being all sullen, she decided this year would be an excellent time to start filling the Attic with things she makes - because we all know how well those do at markets, don't we? Other than Horror Con, which we actually do quite well at and is the only market we're doing this year. Because quite frankly, I'm getting tired of doing all the heavy lifting by myself.

Yeah, so she started getting all excited and jabbering on about how she misses doing beadwork and working with leather and furs, and how she'd always  dreamed of making a small line of Dark Mori clothing and opening an Etsy store (which will probably end up just as out-of-date as the website). My husband (who the insomniac  refers to as the spouse) and I looked at one another, collectively rolled our eyes, shuddered a little bit then said, “Now hold on a minute ... settle yourself down! Let's not get carried away and start making more things that won't sell.” But after careful consideration we both agreed that sometimes it's necessary to let the insomniac  have her way, keeping her occupied during these long, cold winter months so she doesn't go all Jack Torrance on our asses - it's not like there isn't a plethora of chainsaws and axes lying around the Spooky Forest just begging to be smashed through a bedroom door. I did, however, make her promise that anything she creates must be a Size 12 and black in colour - a little floral pattern is acceptable provided it's on a black background and not too flashy - and must be something I can wear to the saloon on Saturday nights without raising too many eyebrows should none of it sell.

Anyway, I think I'll head downstairs and see if the coffee's ready yet. While I'm down there, does anyone have suggestions on what they'd like the insomniac  to write about next? Anybody interested in seeing professional photos of the Little Gothic Cottage instead of those artsy-fartsy moody vignettes she always posts? Although I'm sure she'll probably spice up those professional pictures with a bit of banter about our experiences building the cottage. After all, it's almost been a year and a half since we've moved in - surely by now she's probably gotten over all those annoying little things that drove her absolutely mental while we were building. Probably.

I think the other thing she was throwing around (besides income tax paperwork) was how to build a Steampunk Coffin, but I believe there may have been even fewer people interested in that topic than the previous one. Plus that particular post requires the assistance of the only person in this cottage authorized to use power tools, and we sorta have to get him on board first. Word in the forest was he needed a new tool - a biscuit joiner or some such thing - before he could even begin to think about it. So if you have any other suggestions to get her up here writing again it would be greatly appreciated, before a month's absence turns into three like it did last summer and we have to drag her out from beneath whatever rock she's hiding under to get her going again.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for her to come up with a new post and if you happen to be wondering what's going on in our lives, please feel free to interact with us (well, mostly her) on Instagram - a Social Media platform Little Gothic Horrors suggested would be a good place for Insomniac's Attic - The Shoppe, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Unfortunately, I gave the insomniac  free rein over there too, so although it started out well - with pictures of the LGC, our version of Gothic Home Decor, products that will eventually make it on the website should she ever decide to update it, markets we were selling at - just like this blog, it seems to have degenerated into a place where she's completely forgotten about showcasing The Attic and instead posts videos of herself feeding the birds, photos of what's currently on her knitting needles, sewing projects she's working on for our own cottage and which aren't even for sale - pretty much every damn thing except Attic Business. You should never EVER give the insomniac  free rein anywhere on Social Media. It always ends up going off the rails. Always.

So until next time, all three of us here at the Little Gothic Cottage wish you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. And instead of the usual “Goodnight, my pretties.” tagline the insomniac  normally closes with, since I'm control today I'll leave you with a lovely little poem my father used to recite to me at bedtime when I was very young; well before the insomniac  ever arrived on the scene ...

Good night. Sleep tight.
Don't let the bedbugs bite.
And if they do, you know what to do.
Squeeze 'em tight.

IA


PostScript:  Lynne may like to believe she's in charge of things in The Attic, but I think we all know who really runs the show here, don't we? Goodnight, my pretties.

PostPostScript: I heard that. And let me tell you, if I weren't the excellent businesswoman that I am, this place would have folded three years ago. You and all your flaky pie-in-the-sky ideas ... And while we're at it, may I ask precisely when exactly you're planning on finishing the revisions to “our” website?

Oh, good grief. Would you listen to those two? And it's like this Every. Single. Day. The constant bickering and sniping at one another - it's endless. Who am I? Well, I'm pretty new here so I don't have a name yet. But I swear, one day while they're both busy squabbling I'm going to step in and take over this business myself. I guess I should come up with a name then, shouldn't I? Hmmmmm. How about Sybil? Yes, I like that. Sybil it is then.

PostPostPostScript: Not a single solitary one of us is expecting any comments on this post. I mean really ... what could you possibly say except, “Get some help. Please.”  ;)

42 comments:

  1. I think selling the stuff you make in the Attic is a fantastic idea!

    Business-wise, the US Postal Service raised their rates yet again. And I have to say, since they almost doubled the shipping cost to Canada a year or two back, or whenever that was, I haven't received a single order from a Canadian---not that I blame you guys. At one point I decided to use FedEx, but it ended up costing 21.00 to send a 2 lb package just to the East Coast of the US. Super frustrating. High shipping costs can make or break sales on ye olde internet. But maybe this would be good for you---if the Canadian dollar is weak against the US dollar, maybe you will get more orders? I just don't know anymore.

    I'd enjoy seeing more pictures of what you make. And of squirrels :)

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    1. Do you? Well, good - maybe I'm not totally on the wrong track then. Or the insomniac  isn't totally on the wrong track ... whatever. ;)

      I know we had much higher postal rates than you for a long time, but I think you've finally caught up to us. It's put a real crimp in my eBay/Etsy purchases and I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing! The majority of my orders are from the US and, surprisingly, overseas. I think I've only had about three orders from Canadian customers since day one. Whaaaat - are there no gothy types up here? I feel sort of the same way as you - I just don't know anymore.

      I'm going to start on those clothes soon, so I'm sure there'll be a post in a few months of everything I've made. And I KNOW there's a squirrel picture over on Insta - he was my buddy for a long time but I think he was pretty old, and the last time I saw him, I'm pretty sure he went off into the woods later to ... er ... die. :(

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  2. Oh my! It can get crowded in the Attic! I'm so happy you are mentioning our sucked out loonie, really has cramped my style!
    Paper products are popular in our wacky circle as us crones have slowly brought back, the written letter. Feathered quill pens...hint, hint
    I love what ever you two share, you both are very inspiring and ENTERtaIning! .......xoDebi

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    1. I hate this whole loonie business - I barely even check eBay or Etsy any more and that makes me sad. I tried a pen pal group once, but I had to drop out because I'm the absolute WORST at returning letters. So I probably won't be bringing in any feathered quill pens or anything, in case they don't sell and then I would feel obligated to use them myself! Hah!

      I'm glad we're entertaining but now you're forcing me to come up with some ideas all by myself. Oh no, wait - I have a couple of other people here who can help, don't I? ;)

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  3. Having just chucked my own website into the virtual interweb trash, I can relate somewhat to your post. I do enjoy reading your posts though, and would be tickled black and blue to see any pictures of your abode, artsy fartsy or not. And I cannot believe that in less than 24 hours after I ditched my instagam account, you suggest I go there. Le sigh. Looking forward to seeing what you do in the future and wishing you much success walking whichever path you choose. :)

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    1. I think I really have to do a post on the build one day, if only to share my “knowledge” of what not to do when you build a house. LOL

      I didn't even know you were on Instagram, Debbi - I would have followed you! Can you get your account back? The future - well, whatever it brings I'm good with it. Apparently, according to Notes from the Universe, I just have to show up and do the work and whatever path I'm supposed to be on will manifest. We shall see. :)

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  4. Phoebe woke me up early, so I'm sitting here sipping coffee and chuckling to myself over the thought of you (or was it the Insomniac?) going "all Jack Torrance on our asses" at the snowy Little Gothic Cottage! :D

    I'm so glad you're on Instagram now! I really love all your photos, and since my blog is terribly neglected these days, it's nice to have another place to keep in touch.

    We're in exactly the same boat with our currency. The Aussie dollar was equal or a little over the US dollar a few years ago, but now it's usually 70 cents or under. I've bought a few things recently and my teeth nearly dropped out when I saw the PayPal conversion. :/

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    1. Oh no, bad Phoebe! She's supposed to let you sleep in on the weekends - isn't that in the Cat's Rule Book or something? As if a cat would follow the rules ... LOL

      I don't know why The Shining has been on my mind lately. I think the youngest and I tried watching it before Christmas and never finished it - maybe it's the universe's way of insisting I finish!

      I'm glad I'm on Instagram, too! I think I need to weed out some people I'm following though, other than my friends. I got caught in the 'they followed me so I MUST follow them back' trap. Even though most of them are strictly businesses showcasing their work. Hmmmmmm. Showcasing their work. What's wrong with this picture? ;)

      I know your dollar is worth about the same as ours, so I knew you were in the same boat as us. It's absolutely horrific, isn't it? I guess it's helping me save money because I'm only shopping in actual stores, and since I don't enjoy going to real stores or malls, I'm not spending much money! Other than on wool, obviously. LOL

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    2. Oh, I did the same thing when I first started on Instagram and now I'm stuck with a couple of accounts that I can't stand. One in particular friended me on FB too, so it feels really awkward to unfollow/unfriend, but suffice to say, I need to do a spot weeding too! ;D

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    3. Oh, I know! It just feels so mean to unfollow someone, doesn't it? I wish there was a way to remain a follower but not have to see their pictures! :)

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  5. Jeez yeah, TELL ME about that low loonie, eh? I ordered a Game of Thrones t-shirt from the US and the S & H cost as much as the bloody t-shirt! And then the whole thing went through currency conversion and added another 30+ percent to the total cost. Goddamn tee ended up costing me about $75 Cdn. But I paid it cuz THAT'S how much I wanted that t-shirt.

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    1. GOOD LORD, is the t-shirt made of solid gold, Debra? You REALLY must have wanted it! I can relate - I saw a Holy Morticia t-shirt on a US website and am giving it very serious consideration, even though I know it's going to cost me around $60 when all is said and done. As they say, the heart wants what the heart wants. Maybe t-shirts weren't what they were talking about though. I don't know. ;)

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  6. Why not let The Insomniac share with us all those "crazy loony ideas" that she has? Who knows if the public finds that some of them actually brilliant? :)

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    1. I'm not sure that's a good idea, Globöb Oboglöb. If I let the insomniac  share her ideas, they might really come for me with a padded truck! Just kidding. I'll probably end up letting her do just that. :)

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  7. I happen to like the stuff you make (and would like to see more of them). And you are really good at writing - unlike others (cough, cough).
    Social networking is clearly not my thing, but there is something about Instagram I simply cannot say not to, damn it. Now, I only have to wait until it dies, so that I can create a profile (and delete it a week later).

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    1. Awwwww aren't you sweet, Variations on Light! I like the stuff you make too, and your pictures really speak for themselves so you don't need to do any writing. They stand alone. :)

      Social media is definitely not my thing but I do love Instagram - mostly because you can just 'heart' the pretty pictures and not have to comment. And I do love me some pretty pictures.

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  8. Oh your CAD sounds like it's at a similar level to tbe Australian dollar at the moment! I know tge pain of looking at a gorgeous item only to convert the price and cry! That Dark Mori line sounds sooooo good, can I pay in faery magic and curses? Huhu. Maybe there'll be layby though?

    I stay off insta, I dont need yet another social media addiction, I already have Blogger and Facebook!

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    1. I barely even bother converting prices any more, Laura - I already know it's going to make me cry! Anyway, it's not like I need any more stuff. Well, other than a few small things for all the bare spots in the cottage. I may have gotten rid of too much when we left the Gothic Mansion! Haha.

      You absolutely can pay in faery magic! I can't think of anyone I need cursed at the moment, but I'm sure that will change. Absolutely will do layaway too. I should put that on the website or Etsy or wherever I decide to sell, shouldn't I? I think layaway is a fabulous idea - it's how we bought all of our very large things. Who can come up with that kind of money all at once?

      I don't need any other social media addictions either. I'm seriously considering shutting down my personal FB account - either that or I have to just quit looking at it. So if you notice I'm not liking any of your posts in the future, you'll know that I've actually done that, okay? ;)

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  9. First Annual State of the Attic Address...that's hilarious. And you say you can't write. I've never been able to get the kind of conversation going with myself that you do. Plainly your alter ego isn't off sulking in a corner somewhere. I hear you about the financials over there. My SIL in Alberta said celery was selling for $7. I thought she was joking. Its celery for Chrissake! About 99% water. She wasn't. I knew the collapse of the gravy train called Oil & Gas In The Canadian North has it the economy hard, but dang! Postage costs out of the homeland have always been high and since you have to profit or pull up stakes and call it a day, I"m sure folks will understand if you are tightening down in The Shop. And speaking of the The Shop, other than the colour scheme being pretty dark (which might also just be my middle aged eyesight getting worse), I think it looks good. But often changing up your look proves to be a real incentive to get the lead out. Do you have any designs in mind? And hey, I love those mittens you posted a photo of on Instagram!

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    1. I think that title must have come from hearing about Obama's State of the Union address on the news - not that I watch the news or anything. ;) And I wish I could shut off some of those conversations in my head, Ali. Seriously, it's why I can't sleep - the brain just never shuts down!

      Groceries are just terrible, but the good news is rents have finally gone down. I think house prices are around the same - not that we're looking but we are noticing quite a few acreages have gone on the market around here lately. But those are all the ones going for $2 million and up - pretty sure nobody can afford those right now! I need to get our pantry built so we can start stocking up on beans and grains. :)

      Business is slow but I'm not giving up yet. I'd be really worried if I had a brick and mortar though. I fear for all the little boutiques - I don't know how they'll be able to make it, and then we're stuck with only big box stores left. I think the website style will be pretty much the same, but I think if I retake pictures with the new-ish camera the products might be easier to see. I may put the Taxidermy Category out there and get people's opinions first before I go crazy on redesigning anything. Basically I'm pretty lazy, plus the more time I spend on the computer the less time I have to make things ... like more of those mittens but to sell! :D

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  10. {Sigh}... I suppose the Steampunk Coffin was just a fun project to imagine... The Steampunk Decor crowd is a pretty small market, not good business sense to make something with little demand I suppose. While a biscuit joiner would be a good tool to have in the shop , ( after all, he with the most tools -wins!), Tell the hubby to consider a quality dowel rod jig for small projects. Makes nice little circular details with contrasting color or grain woods, it serves the same purpose as a biscuit joiner plus he'll be amused you know what a dowel rod jig is!

    My wife has encountered the same problem with diminishing profits due to increased postage in her business venture. Now we're in the convention and outdoor market sales which I'm not happy about, but then again, you do what you have to do to make the money. On the blogging perspective, I hope you know how entertained I am at photos and reading about the little building details and designs of your homes (i.e. antique style push- button light switches, really?!!) I also enjoy seeing what is being created at the LGC, and yes even the sewing stuff ( although not as much). The State of the Attic Address has been quite entertaining! Wishing you a continually improving new year for your craft Lynne!

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    1. Never fear, Mark - the Steampunk Coffin is definitely a go! I ordered the biscuit joiner off the internet this morning. I'm not even going to mention the dowel rod jig because then he'll be wanting one of those too. ;)

      I know you guys used to have way lower postage prices than us, but I have noticed over the past year or so they've definitely increased on eBay, so I guess you're right there with us now. Sucks. I hope things improve for all us little guys in the future, because who can compete against Amazon? They sell things for cheaper than what I can buy them for wholesale. How does that even work?

      If you're interested in the house before I get around to writing the post with all the somewhat humorous anecdotes about the build, a lot of the photos are on Houzz ... http://www.houzz.com/projects/1299798/storybook-acreage

      And maybe I'll have to start making some men's clothing for my male readers so you guys could enjoy the sewing stuff a bit more. Everything in black and no orange or yellow or purple - wasn't that right? LOL

      Fingers crossed the convention/outdoor market area does better for Belinda in 2016. :)

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  11. Oooh, pick me! PICK ME! I like seeing what you two are currently creating/working on. And I like seeing photos of the house and the wild woods around the house. I always get very excited to see what you're up to. :)

    hehehe ... I love you Lynne/insomniac! :D Keep my room ready -- you never know when I'm going to visit.

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    1. I've been posting lots of what I've been working on over on Instagram, because then I don't have to write a blog post to go along with it ... lazy sod that I am. I don't know if you're on Insta, but I don't think you need an account to look at the pictures. I will do a post of the woods, and especially the birds. I'm so excited to have a lot of them eating out of my hand! I need to go for a nice walk in the forest and take my camera with me soon - before the bears start waking up. ;)

      I love you too, Professor! I'll miss you blogging but I know you'll be back with very exciting stuff. And I would never snicker about you wanting to change your style - goodness knows mine has changed many times over the years. I don't know many people who want to look how they did in their twenties, although I am really missing all the black flowery clothes I used to wear back then. I think that's why I'm feeling the need to sew things - so I have something I'm comfortable wearing at age 60 but still suits how I want to look now.

      Your room is always ready, Franny! Right now I'm gathering up all my pieces of silk velvet and making you a new duvet cover - a la Bella Notte - which I love but cannot afford. I hope one day you really do come for a visit ... did you know your US dollar is worth practically $1.40 right now? Might be really excellent timing. ;)

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  12. I'd love to make a posting suggestion for the insomniac, but truth be told, I'm pretty much out of ideas for my own blog at the moment. So, all I can say is good luck with that, Insomniac. We'll hopefully see you at the Vampire's Day Soiree.

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    1. I hear ya, Nightwind. It's getting harder and harder coming up with ideas. I feel like I'm really repeating myself lately. I've been thinking about the Soiree and I hope to participate this year but - as usual - I haven't come up with anything to write about yet. I was sort of hoping the coffin might be ready by then, but I think I'll have to wait and see how it goes before I commit. If the coffin isn't ready, then I have no clue. :P

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  13. Hi Insomniac! Reading this post and for some reason it brought me to the memories of the Haunting of the Hill house, the book I read recently. lol... Perhaps it's the style you chose for your post... I kind of felt creepy...:) Don't mind please. Anyway I enjoy your posts, especially after I had a long break from blogging.
    Take care and have a inspiring week ahead!
    Anna

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    1. Oh no, I didn't mean to make you feel all creeped out, Hindustanka! I hope I haven't scared you off, especially after you've been away for a while. Eeeeeep. I'll head over to your blog and see what you've been up to - I bet your little one isn't so little any more. :)

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  14. Well, obviously you're wrong about the getting of comments, Lynne :)
    It's funny to hear you embrace your different personalities. Of course there are cultures that do, but Western ones are not usually on board. I have 3 personalities too, they also have names. Though not separate like some interesting mental disorder, I can totally relate to different parts of me being in charge of different things, and wanting different things.

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    1. Haha, I didn't think anyone would comment - I was sure it was all too weird. Just shows I don't know my own readers very well, doesn't it? LOL

      Well, Sybil isn't officially a personality yet, and I don't think the insomniac  and I are going to let her join our little club. Two of us is maybe one too many already - I think one more would put everyone over the edge. But I have to admit the insomniac  at times feels like a whole separate personality - especially when I write. So what are the names of your Special Friends? :)

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  15. I love that you have instagram! :D
    I'm sorry to say that I don't really have any tips for your blogging, I appreciate all your entries, they always bring out a smile or even laughs, haha!

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    1. Haha, do you, Lesthi? I'm not spending so much time over there lately - just the same as here, I think it's all terribly boring! I guess I just have to quit worrying about what I'm going to write about and hope inspiration hits me over the head every month. LOL

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  16. I used to tell my husband I have 3 brains. He never believed me until he met them in their natural environments.
    He's managed to subdue Scatterbrain somehow-- sometime she comes back to visit, though.

    I honestly have no idea how to use instagram-- I tried once but it got confusing fast, and kind of boring since another of my brains, OneTrack, really prevents deviation from my work to take shots of said work more often then not. I started following you, though, for whatever it's worth! Heheh.

    Well heck, I'd LOVE to see more of your handy work. I can say, hopefully not too creepy sounding, that I've been aching to see more since you have such wonderful taste in all things!

    As for the Canadian dollar, is it wrong to say I rather enjoy it being so low? *ahem*, I visit in May and I suspect my dollars will go quite far! I would love it if we could get together, it would be on me of course ;)

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    1. Oh, you have a Scatterbrain too? Sadly, I think that's one of my dominant brains. I like Instagram because I get to look at lots of pretty pictures and they don't really require commenting, plus I find it much less depressing than FB.

      You are SO SWEET! I've got a few projects for other people I have to finish up first before I can start working on the Dark Mori stuff - I'm excited to get going on that but I NEED to finish the unfinished things before I can even think about starting. Maybe I have a OneTrack brain as well? LOL

      As long as I don't order anything from the US, the low dollar doesn't bother me so much. It's the price of gas and groceries that's killing me! Your dollars will go far - I doubt things will have improved at all by May. I would LOVE to get together when you come up. I'll start saving a portion of my monthly CPP cheques now. HAH!

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  17. First things first, you three make a fantastic team. Dearest Sybil sounds like she owns a hammer, by the way.

    Now to the rest of your post. My goodness, I can't believe the price of postage! I mailed five packages the other day and couldn't believe the bill. It seems small business owners will have to get extra creative to stay afloat.

    I don't have a general blogging suggestion, since I ingest everything you post, but I was wondering if you saw the announcement of this year's Vampires Day Soirée, over at Holly's Horroland. It's supposed to take place on Feb 14th (when we all celebrate love, blood and massacre *cackles*). Here is the link in case you are interested: http://www.hollyshorrorland.com/2016/01/calling-all-vampire-lovers.html.

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    1. Haha - thank you, Magaly! Although the insomniac  and I aren't quite sure whether we'll let Sybil stay yet or not, cause we're pretty sure you're right and she does own a hammer. A really big one. :0

      Postage is ridiculous, isn't it? I'm having difficulty coming up with topics for blog posts ... I'm not sure I have enough creativity left in me to come up with any ideas to stay afloat, too! LOL

      I did see the announcement for the Vampire's Day Soirée! I've been thinking about it since January, but so far I've had zero ideas. I had hoped the biscuit joiner would arrive soon and we could make a coffin but it's back-ordered until April. So now I'm not sure what to make/do - maybe a t-shirt with Nosferatu or a knitted dripping blood scarf? I guess I better make up my mind quickly, hadn't I? But I'm not committing until I'm sure I can get something done in time - not like last year! ;)

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  18. The changes are always useful, they create your own experience. Good luck with your ideas ;)

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  19. What a bargain - thrice the friends for one read! I always hit the winter lulls with the blog - I am just not inspired. I have no blog ideas for myself so I can't help you. Postage is outrageous - we mailed some Christmas presents to England - about 70 f*@#ing bucks. Then them damn brits wanted duty on top of that! All for 50 dollars worth of presents! Never again. I am glad you have someone to keep you company in these long winter months. I am sure the spouse is excited to have 3 women to keep him warm. A bit like sister wives.

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    1. Hey! I've been thinking about you, lady M and kicking myself (or whoever's fault it is - hard to keep track around here sometimes) for not remembering to put a placeholder comment at the top for you. Looks like everything's okay now, even though it's not a particularly exciting post to comment on.

      I know ... postage is horrific. It drives me crazy! And I'm pretty sure most of my customers are getting charged duty too, which sucks as much as the postage fees.

      I mentioned the sister wives to the spouse. He got a good smirk outta that. :)

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    2. Sometimes the blog lets me comment and sometimes not. It's a blog with a split personality!

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  20. I have just discovered your blog this week, and now read every. single. blog post. and loved them all, particularly your ones on travel, art and home decor. As you asked for suggestions, can I ask for more posts on these? You have inspired me to try and create things at home, and really make it into the Gothic Home I want it to be, and rekindled my love for travel. I am now desperately begging the other half to go travelling now as I am so desperate to go and see some of the places you have mentioned, places I never even thought of going but am now desperate to see. Plus I am always interested in a good crafty post on how to make something as we always have about 10 projects on the go!
    Thank you for your blog, I have truly enjoyed reading it, getting to know you and being inspired to try new things :)

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    1. You know, I'm always astounded when people say they've gone back and read every single post I've written! It shows much dedication and I so appreciate your perseverance! As you can probably tell from the date on the last blog post, I'm taking a brief hiatus from blogging right now, as the hotel renovation is consuming a great deal of my time. But I'm hoping to do a very brief post this month on what's been happening, and once fall arrives and I start hunkering down for the winter, the plan is to return with more posts on home decor and crafts (and maybe now even art - because I didn't think anyone liked those posts, but I do have some awesome artists to share!). As for travel, now that we're living on a pension I'm afraid those posts probably won't be happening - unless you're interested in trips to Saskatchewan or BC or any of our neighbouring provinces, which is about as far as we can afford to go these days. ;)

      I'm delighted you've found the blog, thrilled that you've enjoyed my meanderings, and ecstatic you've found some inspiration herein! I hope to get back to it really soon. Summer always seems to be a bad time to get me to sit down in front of the computer though - I much prefer to be outside with the animals. See you soon-ish, Unknown! I'm still on Instagram quite frequently though - should you find yourself missing me. ;)

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