Monthly Reviews, Sales & Offers

End of the month update: January

What I Wore - 30 January

And so a whole month of 2011 is gone already. Usually I do my outfit drawing around week 3 but I was really struggling this month because I’d drawn all my winter clothes already! I don’t really have that many outfits. It was so desperate that when I went to see Mogwai I purposely picked out a top I hadn’t drawn yet. So pathetic. New shoes to draw though! Glasgow is so grimy from all the gritting, I can’t wear my Zazzle shoes.

Since it’s a whole new year, I’m going to summarise what each section is about for anyone who hasn’t been reading since the beginning.

What I did in January

A new one.

Wrote a book. Published a book. Got someone else to make my badges for me. Redesigned my blog (with time-changing banners!). Had a sale. Went to see Mogwai for the 14th time (in 13 years). Went through every single box of stuff in my room. Sold a lorryload of stuff on eBay. Chucked out even more stuff. Dusted every single ornament in my room. Vowed to buy a display cabinet at some point in my life. Started rewatching LOST (I know). Slept rather badly (thanks neighbours! not). Read a lot of books (most of them were mediocre). Started posting random things on my Tumblr again.

Reading, Watching, Playing

Some of the most notable books, films, TV and videogames I’ve been enjoying this month. This isn’t everything I read/watched/played, just the interesting ones. I do try to keep my Goodreads account updated with everything I read.

Creative, Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeelert Cho
The freelancer’s version of Craft, Inc. While there are lots of great tips in here (and it’s a beautiful book!), I can’t say I learned a whole lot, though obviously I have been freelancing for almost three years now. It also assumes you are a) resident in the USA and b) want to be super-successful and work with big name clients. I wonder if anyone would be interested if I wrote some stuff about unambitious freelancing? You know, making enough money for a quiet life. I just want to be able to pay my mortgage and go on a few trips and buy all the secondhand books I desire and not have to stress about a $10,000 contract. Is that nuts?

Islomania by Thurston Clarke
I feel like I have been reading this for approximately eight months, and that’s because I have! Not because it isn’t awesome, but because it’s the best book for carrying about and reading a chapter here and there. It’s all about islands and why we get a bit crazy about them. The author travels to a load of different islands, all with interesting histories and populated with people who want to live their island dream, whether that’s a close-knit back to basics community, or Robinson Crusoe solitude. And like all the best travel books, I now want to go to pretty much all these islands.

At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents’ Place by Kate T. Williamson
I got a bit obsessed with Google Books a few weeks ago, and spent a happy couple of days looking at scans of new and old books. Inevitably, I ended up in the Japan section and discovered the author of one of my favourite Japan books, A Year in Japan, had another book out! It tells the story of her unplanned return to live at her parents’ house while she put together her Japan book. It’s full of little moments from the sad to the hilarious, all with lovely watercolour illustrations. It’s a really nicely made book too.

Picross 3D
I am THIS close to finishing, after almost daily play for 3 months! That seems long but there are 350 puzzles and I have made myself complete each one to 3 stars (perfect time and no errors). I’m still not sure if I like it but I love the music so much I will be sad to finish. Still, I cannot deny a small part of me is waiting for the day I complete this so I can reset the original Picross and play that again.

iPhone app of the month

Whatever neat app is currently changing my life.

Dr Moku’s Hiragana Mnemonics (£1.79)
You should check out the review I wrote for Super Cute Kawaii – there may even be a few free copies left too!

Things I liked on the internets

I used to do new sites here but now I’m going to share some links of whatever has caught my interest enough to bookmark it.

Manhattan Nest
A new find via Make It, I love everything about Manhattan Nest. I’ve never been interested in home tour type blogs, and now I understand why. As Shannon says, most young design-conscious folks either rent or have no budget for major home improvements. I’m not inspired by people knocking down walls and ripping out kitchens but I am totally inspired by these clever fixes, Ikea hacks and thrift store finds. Even when he upholsters a BED or makes an amazing shelf out of pipes, it doesn’t seem too intimidating. Lots of ideas for my future home (the one where I get to decide everything myself).

Whisky Priest (at Caustic Cover Critic)
Really interesting idea here – redesigning and repackaging out of print books for basically your own amusement.  As someone who loves old books and is rather picky about how books look, this is something I may well dabble in one day.

Conscious Spending in Action (at Get Rich Slowly)
People sometimes ask how I make the whole self-employed thing work – this is a big part of it. I don’t have cable/satellite, I don’t have a car or any pets, I don’t drink or go to the cinema or buy new clothes often (see what I wore for proof!) etc. etc. However, I do have an iPhone, a top-end broadband service and possibly too many books. Basically, however useful or fun those other things might be, they’re not worth it to me, whereas too many books totally is. Once you start figuring out what you personally need over what “everyone” has, you spend a lot less.

Cats on Leashes and Other Randomness (at Jenna in Japan)
One of the reasons I love Jenna’s blog is that she isn’t too proud to do a huge blog post primarily showing pictures of drinks she has bought in Japan. It may not be entirely cool to admit that looking at all the stuff in convenience stores is one of the highlights of  any trip to Japan, but I’m willing to raise my hand here. Would also like to try 90% of the stuff pictured here (not the cats on leashes). Also now regretting not forcing Nic to buy that Mameshiba eraser maker when we saw it. It is amazing.

Our Solar System Flickr stream
Just wow.

New Product Round-up

All the new stuff I added to the shop, in case you missed anything.

Kawaii Japan PDF book
Geisha Badge Set
Cakeify and Friends pens
Bunny Book Hearts
Cakeify iPhone 3G case

Online sales

Whereby I count up all my sales on my four main online selling places. Obviously, I also get sales from stockists, wholesale orders etc. but I hope this gives some guide as to how much a shop of my level does month to month.

Items sold on Shopify: 45
Items sold on Etsy: 21
Items sold on Folksy: 48
Items sold on DaWanda: 28

Very pleased with that for January! Certainly helped that my Valentine’s products were featured on Etsy, Folksy and DaWanda (twice!).

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