Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Quickly, quickly...

Just a brief post tonight so as not to leave you all feeling too darn neglected (I know I have a tendency to do that)... I'm busily getting ready to head off to Cat Bordhi's self-publishing retreat (the party van leaves bright and early tomorrow morning, destination northern Washington) and thought I'd better check in before I leave.

I've managed to get all my post-TNNA work done, for the most part. Patterns have shipped and now various design obligations are being slowly knocked out. I've totally become a list fanatic recently in an effort to actually get done what needs to be done (rather than just what I feel like doing). The huge list of tasks that I made for myself after I got back from San Diego has been whittled down to just a few of the less urgent items (such as making up a design calendar for myself and putting together an "exclusive design" program for shops who want to pay a little more to get a design all to themselves for 6-12 months). I'm also working to get my patterns up on Patternfish (they're not all there yet because Julia, the PF mastermind, writes up such delightful descriptions of each pattern so she can't knock off two dozen in an afternoon).

One of the balancing acts I'm currently struggling with is the whole issue of electronic availability of patterns. I keep saying that I'm not going to add any more pdf vendors, but then another great one comes along and talks me into it. I worry that adding a new vendor is going to take sales away from my existing vendors, but when I look at the sales figures objectively I can't tell that that's actually happening. The sales are really all over the place for all of my online vendors. It's hard to say how many of those customers are going to a vendor's website from my retailer page (I know some of them are because I get e-mails from people looking to buy a certain pattern who don't have a shop near them), and how many are stumbling across my patterns while browsing the retailer's site with no relation to my website or advertising whatsoever. It's so hard to say, and so for now, I've decided to take the attitude of plenty rather than scarcity with my pdf vendors (as in, there are plenty of customers to go around, so I don't need to worry myself sick about taking sales from one vendor when I add another).

These are the exciting things I think about while I'm knitting, now that I don't have television to keep my brain occupied.

Speaking of television, our one-month experiment with no cable has gone swimmingly. I'm able to get so much more done! It's hard for me to sit down and knit without the tv to keep me company, but I just need to get into the habit of loading up my ipod with podcasts or turning on NPR. Tonight, for example, instead of plunking down in front of the television for the evening I instead cooked beans, baked bread, made an apple cake and tray of brownies (I'm bringing goodies for dinner tomorrow night up at the lodge), printed up a pattern order to send off, and read Sydney the second half of Bella the Bunny Fairy before Bill put the kids to bed. I also got all my retreat stuff packed up, including a bunch of kitchen stuff so I can take my food obsession on the road with me. I'm not going too crazy, but I am making quinoa chili for everyone for dinner tomorrow night and I'm bringing some popcorn and coconut oil to cook up for snacking. I've become completely enamored of popcorn cooked on the stovetop in coconut oil. It's a great arm workout!

The end of January also concluded our month of not spending on anything but necessities. All in all, we pretty much stuck to our budget (well, I was $200 over on food, but Bill's theory is that I set the original amount unattainably low). What's really surprising is when you keep track of everything and think that you're cutting way, way back, when you add it all up at the end of the month you realize that cutting way, way back means you get pretty close to your budget (as in, close but definitely not under). It makes me wonder how far we've been blowing our budget out of the water when we don't keep track. I know it kind of defeats the purpose of having a budget when you don't track it, but that's a topic for another day.

Today I went to Target to pick up a few things and was surprised at how difficult it is to control myself in that place, even after training myself for a month. I did pretty well (I escaped under $75, which is almost unheard of for me), but I still didn't turn around and walk out the door when I discovered that the pot I went there to buy was more expensive than I'd hoped. Ironically, if I would've just ponied up for the stupid pot and left, I would've gotten out of there for less than what I ended up spending. Instead I bought some Pyrex baking dishes that I've been wanting, a natural-bristle pot scrubber for our cast-iron, a birthday present for an upcoming party and some art supplies that Sydney has been asking for. I resisted buying the $7.99 waffle iron, the $15 knife sharpener, the Hello Kitty rain boots, the electronic version of Trivial Pursuit, the soft-sided cooler, the new coffee grinder and about a gajillion other things that I momentarily thought I "needed". All in all, I think my tightwaddery has been a success.

Now I'm off to clean up the kitchen (wouldn't want to leave a mess of dirty bowls in the sink for Bill to deal with, especially since I'm not leaving him the good stuff to eat while I'm gone!) and finish the last bits of packing. Next time I promise to finally get around to a review of my new Addi Click set - but I'll leave you with one hint: even Bill thinks it's cool! Have a great week!


Anonymous akabini said...

apple cake?

oh my!
We Lake House bunnies sure are lucky!
See you on the boat.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I have that problem with the computer. If I could set it aside I would get either a lot more house work and cooking done, or more knitting. :)

Two Verizon guys came by a couple of nights ago wanting to know if we wanted to get onto the whatever it is Verizon is doing with the TV stuff. I almost caved, but dh rescued me. Seriously if we had that much tv, we'd literally be in front of it 24/7!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We haven't had a TV for over a year and I couldn't be happier. People come to our home and see no TV in our living room and find it quite strange. :) We just didn't have time. It's so great for Ben as well as he plays more and "reads" books. I also find it funny when I read on freecycle when people post that they NEED a TV. It makes me laugh. When did TV become a necessity in our country.

3:01 AM  

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