That probably says it all, but it seems like cheating to stop there. The last few weeks feel rather discombobulated, but I'm not sure if that's any more than usual. We had a very strong holiday season which was interrupted by a snow day - that brought several inches of snow, enforced inactivity, and a general feeling of anxiety that I didn't particularly need (so close to Christmas a person could easily lose almost a month's worth of rent by being closed). In the end, we were already ahead of sales for the year, and we caught up on the weekend following after, AND we had a white Christmas and some lovely photo ops. The snowman at the Capitol were quite entertaining. I especially loved the playful aspect of a plot of land that hasn't been feeling so playful for me lately.
I stayed at my parents' house during the great snow so that I could help them with shoveling, and am now in the middle of some cat-sitting on the charming East Side of town in a neighborhood with zillions of eateries - between scraping the ice off the sidewalk, deciding where to eat and carefully moving my feet around the cats, I've been keeping busy.
Sachi has been very industrious. She has several new project ideas and hasn't seem to take a break at all when it comes to making bird nest necklaces. I haven't even looked at what I need to do to restock what sold. I'm feeling rather tired even though the competitive sibling in me has a hard time letting her pull ahead. Our mom swears she doesn't know where it comes from and that she did nothing to instigate it but there's no doubt that there's a little competitiveness that drives our actions. We have a little time, of course. The next three months are definitely the quiet time - the words my boss always said are running through my mind: "Don't hunt when the ducks aren't flying."
Certainly it is not like we have to restock the shop to the holiday levels right away. It's a little hard to transition so I have to restrain myself when it comes to reordering. Buying for the shop is probably one of my most favorite tasks... and much more pleasant to work on than all the other things that I really need to be doing this time of year. Because end of the calendar/fiscal year means all sorts of bookwork, whipping all the files into shape for the accountant and tax time, preparing forms for various forms that need to be filed. NOT that I begrudge paying the taxes, just that I wish it was less time-consuming. And then we have to inventory the whole place. Ugh. Perhaps the least fun task of being a shopgirl. Usually by the end, I find myself saying, "that wasn't so bad," but the weeks leading up to it are filled with procratinatory dread, restocking and cleaning that isn't super urgent but that feels like it would make the counting process easier, counting, calcuating, and counting some more. I've already started inventorying the drawers all over the place. I have finally reached a moment where I'm not so thrilled with the card catalog, or, rather, not so thrilled with the thought of counting everything in all the drawers.
Much more fun to be thinking about merchandising and buying. All I have to do is make it through the next couple weeks, and then we'll be heading out to the Craft and Hobby Association Conference and Trade Show. This might be our favorite trade show, not only because we get to see what's new in the craft world, but also because most of the displays are pretty creative and inspiring. At the gift trade shows, most of the displays, while they can be lovely, are a simple arrangement of product, whereas at the CHA, a lot of the vendors fill their booths with paper crafts and other ideas of what to do with their products. We are rotating around between shows so we missed this one last year and are especially interested to see what we see.
Meanwhile at the shop, it is mostly time to rearrange, redo the windows, pack up the Christmas and spread things out. I've started to do some planning ahead for the new year, looking at categories we might want to expand, starting my wish list. And though I should have just put these on the list, I couldn't resist one last (or first) purchase. Even though they arrived this week, I'm kind of counting them as the first product of the new year. These fun paper straws make me think all sorts of happy party thoughts, but I think they would also be really cool for a piano-hinge book or some other book structure. They come in lots of different colors - the vendor said I set a record for placing my order and making up my mind; little did she know I had to act fast or else I would have spent a week debating color combinations.
And last, but not least, Christmas day was lovely. I did come into the shop for about an hour to some work that I should have done on Christmas eve but was too tired to do, and wanted to get done before the next morning. Yes, I am a bit of a workaholic. But I enjoyed the rest of my day much more knowing it was done. Some selected Christmas items are on sale for 40% but the consignment items needed to be pulled from the sales floor and I was ready to consolidate and clean up just a bit. I did save the window for later in the week. I took some winter pictures because I'm starting to think about a Madison winter postcard series for next year, and then it was home for all the festivities. I made matching Word Girl shirts for my niece and me. Though the picture is blurry, I love the look on her face. Ultimately, the $5 gift card from Orange Leaf and the little Totoro stuffie from our shop were the hits... both of which I had in her stocking and were opened early. I could have stopped there. Just like the little kid who likes the cardboard box better than the gifts that were inside.
And now it is almost the new year. I don't really do much as far as resolutions go - the collage of many resolutions that I made a few years ago is still carrying me. Though Sachi and I started thinking about an actual time when we would be working five-day workweeks. Made it to owning a store by 40; time to set the next goals....