Increase in USPS Rates & New Shipping System in Place

Ahem Ahem!, Behind the Scenes

USPS is raising their rates on Sunday, May 31, 2015. I ship through the post office, which means shipping and handling costs for my Etsy shop are also affected.

Since I was going to have to modify my shipping charges in any case, I decided to join Etsy’s new calculated shipping program for U.S. sellers. It means that shipping charges are automatically calculated based on 1) a buyer’s actual location, 2) the seller’s actual location, and 3) the size and weight of the item(s) being shipped.

Changes for buyers are minimal. When viewing an item, buyers enter a U.S. ZIP code (or a non-US country) on the Shipping & Policies tab to generate shipping costs. The price shown will be for the least expensive shipping method offered by the seller that is eligible for the total weight and dimensions of the item(s).

Weighing and Measuring

For me, calculated shipping means I’m both able to give shoppers more accurate shipping costs and save time myself with the new back end settings. Previously, it took a lot of work for me to to determine shipping costs.

I spent last weekend weighing and measuring every item in my inventory, creating new shipping profiles, entering the figures into my shop interface on Etsy, and making sure all t:s were crossed and i:s dotted.

The new settings are now in effect. I have checked my data entry, and everything should be in order, but if you see anything odd, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

Happy weekend!

Favorite Handmade Xmas Presents from 2014

After Hours, Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

Happy New Year to each and everyone! I had such a relaxing Christmas and a great break in general. I hope that was also the case for you. It’s good to be back to a fresh start, though, with some fresh snow outdoors. I just love how everything looks so clean and clear and soft after snowfall.

Speaking of soft: Every year, I try to include something handmade in my Christmas presents. Here are some soft projects from 2014 that I most enjoyed making:

2014 Handmade Xmas Presents

Clockwise from top right: three nesting bins in the recipient’s favorite colors; simple gift wrapping with a hunter green envelope, a bunny paper clip and a recycled Christmas card cut down to size; freeform hand-embroidered rosemary sachets, cotton on cotton muslin; two nesting bins out of blue Marimekko poppy print fabric; and eight fabric coasters with felt innards and fringed edges, complete with a small custom storage bin in coordinating colors.

In this case, part of the pleasure came from being able to use for personal gain a fabric bin construction technique I developed for my business.

Any handmade gifts you either made or received that you’d like to share? Please do!

Making Progress: Breast Cancer Awareness Themed Items for 2014

Ahem Ahem!, Colors, Leveling Up

So far I haven’t created any products for specific campaigns or themes (apart from my usual business charitable giving). This year, I wanted to do a test batch and chose October and breast cancer awareness.

There are some gorgeous pinks and reds in my fabric stash. I selected a few to make a small quantity of lavender sachets and mini storage cubes. Some sachets are plain, some have a heart applique in the front and some were inspired by the Tardis; all are limited run and sold singly. A part of the sachets are in darker colors – burgundy red and purple – as a nod towards male breast cancer. I also sewed two unique sets of two mini cubes; the rest of the cubes are limited run and sold singly. Here is a group photo:

2014 PGH Breast Cancer Awareness

They are now available in my Etsy store; more photos can be seen on Flickr. Five percent of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen. It will be interesting to see how a themed set like this performs compared to my usual selection. At the very least it has been educational to think in terms of a specific collection or purpose.