happy labor day weekend all ...

enjoy your Labor Day - and remember not to labor

I guess this was before some genius invented beach towels

Changes to Etsy Feedback or sellers are seeing stars

I have never been a fan of feedback.

(mostly because it scares the hell out of me)

Like thousands/millions of other people who sell on Etsy - I make stuff. I take pictures of it. I sell it. I ship it. Most of the time I do this really, really well. And sometimes I screw up.

There are a whole lot of "I's" in this process so this whole thing has always felt way too personal to me to be healthy - like I am walking through life naked and hoping someone will offer me an umbrella or some sunblock or a nice hand knit sweater and at the very least not throw darts or rotten tomatoes at me.

A connected economy is a feedback economy. Our businesses rise (or fall) by the connections we make. With a gazillion bits of information clamoring for our potential customer's attention word of mouth marketing is the only thing that works.

I get it.


It still scares the hell out of me.

Before two days ago I hadn't looked at my Etsy feedback in over a year because I like to sleep at night and because I am afraid of darts and rotten tomatoes and because my big girl pants have been at the cleaners ... yes, for a year - my cleaners are very slow. I don't give them bad feedback about this either.

Etsy changed from a kind of pass/fail system to a 5 star system.

A few other things changed, too.

1. Buyers don't get feedback anymore which sounds like a good idea because why does a buyer need feedback. When I leave the grocery store there isn't some guy standing there with a pad and paper rating my performance as a customer. Sellers have used this buyer feedback thing as a way to thank buyers, but sellers have likely thanked them two or three times by this point so it's not really needed for that..

There are sellers on Etsy who make time consuming and sometimes expensive custom items for buyers and kind of like to see who they are dealing with before they get started. They would like to know if the buyer has a history of being unhappy with things they have ordered, so maybe they can avoid the pitfalls of dealing with someone who might be unhappy with them, too.

I get this. It's the same reason I hadn't checked my feedback in a year.

It isn't the way life works though.

Life supports us putting in the energy first - great jobs require unpaid internships, great skills require 10,000 hours of practice, great rewards require sweat. Sellers of time consuming custom work will have to figure out a way to make this work for them.

Maybe someone could offer a place they could privately list problem situations, I don't know. I think few problem situations were ever avoided with buyer feedback though.

2. The stars have little labels that because Etsy is the place for hip, read things like "not a fan" and offer suggestions to customers of what they should write about (customers are required to write at least 5 words now) - suggestions like "what did you like about it?", "what did you dislike?"


(maybe a little disrespectful for handmade Etsy? whatcha think? some of us are still making the things we sell on Etsy with our own two hands and the handmade experience is an imperfect experience, which is the wabi sabi beauty of it - we aren't all resellers Etsy)

3. Sellers overall rankings (1-5 stars) are calculated from the last 12 months of feedback received but listed next to the total of all feedback ever received and so are a little misleading. Maybe a lot misleading.

This seller who posted in the forums yesterday should have a 4.75 overall star rating, but because she has only had 1 buyer in the last 12 months who left feedback (most buyers don't leave any) and that buyer was not happy, she has a 1 star rating which is going to be very slow to improve.

My gut tells me that Etsy will revise this 12 month thing, and if they don't, I think we should all contact this seller and ask her to sell us something cheap which we will all rave about until we pull her rating up to the 4.75 she deserves. I am serious.

4. Buyers can revise their feedback for up to 60 days. They used to have much longer to leave feedback and this replaces kiss and make-up which drove sellers crazy.  It has some potential pitfalls because buyers could revise their star ranking down if something breaks, shrinks or falls apart. I think most likely these buyers would go back to the seller and talk to them before revising their feedback. It's still a little nerve-wracking

There are other changes, but my brain hurts from thinking about them

We'll have to see how this all pans out, maybe some things will be revised over the next couple weeks.

The one good thing that came out of this for me is that with buyer feedback disappearing some purchase feedback I had missed leaving popped into view for me to give out.

I noticed when I left feedback something called Shop Note showed up under my comment area - it looked like the Message to Buyers info, but I couldn't be certain.

We need to figure where this Shop Note gets entered. Before my buyers leave feedback I want them to see something like this:

I love stars. Falling stars and shooting stars and movie stars - since Miss Rehak's first grade class when I went home every day with little gold stars stuck to my forehead (well, maybe not EVERY day) - I just LOVE them. You have been a 5 star customer and I hope I have given you a 5 star experience. Thank you for buying handmade and recycled!

or maybe something like this:

HOLD ON there buddy. If you were about to give me any rating other than the 5 STAR rating we both know I deserve let me just tell you this - I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. I've seen your Facebook profile and I know where you work. I know you are a little too fond of (I'll pop some custom info related to their purchase in here) OCTOPUSES. Let's just leave it at that.

the reason people love jane's product is not because of how awesome it is, it's because of how awesome it makes THEM

Jane ni Dhulchaointigh is the adorable founder of Sugru. She gave this talk at 99U talk at this year’s conference.

Talk about a woman stepping into her responsibility ... you will love her.

the problem with looking too far ahead ....

she sells seashells metal cuff
I want to know what's going to happen.

(even though I know that thoughts are things and currents of infinite possibility run deep through my bones)

I want to know that everyone is going to have a happy ending and that things are going to all work out.

(even though I know that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists)

I want to know if what I am doing is going to work before I do it.

(even though ... well, because I'm kind of lazy)

I want a guarantee and yes, I want it signed in permanent ink and notarized.

The problem with this way of going through life is when I look too far ahead:

1. I miss all the stuff I don't do now because it looks like it might be a bad idea later

(if I skipped everything in life that looked like a loser, I surely would have missed the sidesteps that took me to the winners)

2. I miss the cracks in the sidewalk that are right at my feet awaiting my tiniest misstep

(and I am clumsy enough with feet firmly planted on the ground - you know that twitchy/jerky thing that happens sometimes just before we fall asleep - well, I have been known to do that wide awake)

3. I miss the excitement of life surprising me

(since I cannot count on hubs to do this - we both forgot our anniversary last week)

The problem is even knowing these things with an absolute certainty:

I still want to know what's going to happen.

and so she posted this ....

I have a new series ready to go about lining up with what we want while we make stuff and save the world and all that jazz ... but it feels too heavy for a Friday in the summer.

The waning weeks of summer I should add ... sniffle.

So I'm just going to post this (for you, for me, for Olive) ... you're welcome.

happy hump day from the universe ...

You could always send a golden thought balloon Cat, to the most rocking possible version of your future self

to thank you for reaching back with inspiration, hunches, instincts, and impulses to help you bridge all gaps, connect all dots, and leap tall buildings ...

Happy Hump Day,
The Universe

once in a blue moon ... a second full moon in Aquarius

laura peyton print

Although my memory of a blue moon (from classes years ago) isn't the definition being used by most astrologers today - we will just go with today's astrologers and call tonight's 2nd full moon in Aquarius a Blue Moon.

Every 2 or 3 years we have a 2nd full moon in the same Astrology sign which creates a little bookend for the first one - you may be putting to bed a project started between the new moon of July 8th and the full moon of July 22.

(of course most projects are put to bed about as easily as 3 year olds)

When the full moon is in Aquarius the sun is in Leo - so the more we love and value ourselves (Leo) - the more we have to offer the world (Aquarius). We also have all the polarizing themes that go along with that.

It only looks like there are 12 astrological signs - there are really only 6 polarities (or 326 if you are looking here) . Every sign's opposite isn't really it's opposite. They are more like the 2 sides of a coin; they may appear different, but they are still the same coin.

Ultimately (after that hero's journey stuff we all came for) with the Leo/Aquarius polarity we learn that the group is dependent on the individual, and the individual is dependent on the group.

As always during full moons stuff will bump up against our stuck emotional points - in an effort to help us release them -

going through life with sharp edges is not very practical after all. 

Although it may feel like a sumo wrestler has settled onto our solar plexus at times - there is the energy for some real creative stuff to be happening now.

Anyhoo, even if the skies are cloudy tonight, get out and walk in it for a while - it's a wonderful time (although there's never a bad time) to practice gratitude.

Carving out a Niche Without Paper Cuts .....

'cause girls don't wanna grow up either
We don’t have to worry about the millions of people out there who will not like or want or need our makings,

we just have to focus on reaching the people who will love us.

Popular doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

Everyone can be popular now. Yes, everyone. The cool kids may still be sitting at the best table, but guess what – we don’t have to look at them anymore.

(with their perfect skin and their perfect clothes and their perfectly straight teeth - wait, actually I have perfectly straight teeth, don't hate me)

We have our own table. We have always had our own table. But now thanks to this amazing thing called the internet there are a whole lot more people sitting with us and we only have to see each other.

The days of everyone seeing the same TV shows on a Friday night are gone; now everyone sees different things – the things we want to see. 

(yes, the world is like Facebook now)

Those different things are niches.

(pronounced neeshe rhymes with quiche or like geese with a lisp, although here in New Jersey most people rhyme it with fish or itch)

Your niche is what separates you from the pack. It is also what helps the right people find you.

Forget the internet and Etsy for a minute and think of it like this – you are a chiropractor in a small town. If you focus exclusively on golf injuries you will probably be out of business, your small town will not support this type of specializing – you probably need to be more general.

But let’s say you move your practice to the big city – suddenly your general practice is getting lost in the shuffle. There are gazillions of clients for you now, but they can’t find you because there are gazillions of other chiropractors, too – suddenly a golf injury specialty becomes a good thing. In the big city you need a niche.

As cuddly and down home local as it looks, Etsy is the big city folks, yes, we need a niche. But there are some tricks to this niche thing.

Pop over to the  TEAM ECOETSY BLOG for my niche tricks.

(and then say that five times fast and come sit at my table and check out my teeth)

a note from the universe and a magical weekend wish for you ....

Remember, Cat , you're always granted lots of leeway, wiggle room, and tolerance when engaging life's magic.

You pretty much just need to have a dream and show up, then wands start waving all over the place.

Have a magical weekend everyone .....
the Universe

so, in between the new and the full moon what's a maker to do ....

I think that I post about new moons and full moons and then skip all the time in between which is when all the action happens.

So, let's talk about that.
unicorns tell me they enjoy waxing gibbon moons best

We had a new moon 9 days ago - the new moon is the time when the moon is hidden.

In the night sky - when the moon is hidden - think THINK.

This is the beginning part which only feels like the beginning part if we are paying attention.

This is the time when we set intentions, we rest, we dream, we gather together our thoughts and our peeps and our resources. This is the tilling the soil part.

This is the part we skip at our own peril - because when we skip this part the stuff we manifest isn't always the stuff we really want. And actually even when I don't skip this step I sometimes manifest stuff I don't really want; ie the stuff that will make me happy.

But this is a planet of contrast and sometimes we have to manifest what we don't want to figure out what we do want - that's how this stuff works.

After the new moon the moon starts waxing.

(the kind of waxing that does not involve anything hot and painful ... usually)

In the night sky - the moon starts to form a D. When the moon forms a D - think DO.

Our energy will be rising - this is the time to get to work; the action is on accumulating.

The waxing moon moves through its crescent, half-moon and gibbons stages over the next two weeks. To work with this energy, we just have to work. We plant the seeds, we water the seeds, we weed the garden.

We build toward the full moon which is not an ending time - it is a peak energy time. This is the point where we give it our all - this is the point the waxing moon is building us toward.

If we have to work all night on our project - this is the time we will have the energy to do just that.

In the night sky- when you see the full moon - think PEAK.

After the full moon the moon starts waning.

Our energy will be receding. This is the time to start wrapping things up and letting go of things. This is the best time to declutter - this is still an action time but the action is on releasing. This is the time to transition from the peak energy of the full moon to the low energy of the new moon.

In the night sky - the moon starts to form a C. When the moon forms a C - think CLEAR.

The waning moon moves through its own crescent, half-moon and gibbons phases over the next two weeks until we reach the new moon again.

Right now we are in a waxing gibbons moon - a big fat D up there. We should be doing.

The more we work with the moon - the more we will find we have the energy to do what we need to do, things will run more smoothly for us with less complications and roadblocks.

It's always better to manage our energy than our time. xo all

fieldguided moon prints

why you may be creating a job and not a business and why that may be ok actually ...

grow something - polarity locket
Before I worked in a bank I did taxes.

I had just been through my first tax season with very demanding clients and an office manager from hell, my daughter was two years old and I really wanted something ... ok I'll just say it ... I wanted something easier.

I applied to a bank for a bank teller job - I could have regular hours and unless I was counting money in my sleep I would not be taking any work home with me.

At the time the bank had a management trainee program where candidates started as bank tellers and progressed to branch managers in a couple years.

The person who interviewed me, seeing my tax background, thought I might be a good fit for this program. I just wanted to be a bank teller.

So, (while the interviewer asked me again if I didn't want a couple days to think about it), I politely declined the management trainee program and became a bank teller.

I loved it.

I loved everything about it. I loved my co-workers. I loved my manager. I loved my customers (mostly). I loved the hours and the holidays (we had A LOT of them).

But maybe most of all I loved leaving that branch and never thinking about it again until I pulled into the parking lot the next morning.

I didn't want a career. I wanted a job.

Now that job lasted about a year before I found out that I was actually more cut out for a career than a job (I  became a manager around the same time the management trainees did, but I think I had a lot more fun getting there). When I think about my 10 year banking career, that very first year holds a lot of great memories for me.

There is nothing wrong with just having a job. Sometimes it's a better place for us. It works until it doesn't.

When I started my first business, people were always giving me the advice - "make sure you are not just creating yourself a job." The 3 letter word would come out of people's mouths all puckery and sour and ... small.

I am not a good advice-taker. So, of course paid no attention.

So, I created a business, but what I really did was build a job for myself.

At that time my mother was very ill and had moved in with us; my uncle who was like a second father to us had just died. My daughter, a latchkey pre-teen, was running amok -

(she denies this and to this day declares me totally nuts for thinking she ever gave us a moment's trouble - "you were lucky to raise me", she says and we were actually, but the truth is she was still running amok .. and her south node Aquarius was clashing with my south node Capricorn BIG TIME)

a business would have been a totally unsustainable thing for me to be building.

I built myself a job.

I had mall carts during the holidays and the mother's day/father's day season and during much of the rest of the year I forgot I even had a business.

Now, another decade or so down the road, I really am building a business. But it's because my life supports it now, not because there is a one way fits all way to do this thing.

You can totally build a job. You can totally build a business.

(and you will most likely need to do both these things at some point because the kind of jobs that other people are building are going other places or disappearing entirely - Kodak had 60,000 employees in its hay-day, Instagram has 13 - annoyingly, it took me a long time to pull up this information because all anyone writes about is how much money a company loses. not so much about how many people lose their jobs)

You can totally do what works best for you and you can totally change that thing you are doing when it isn't working anymore.

We don't need to be doing it as big or as small as anybody else is doing it. We really don't.

why not? print by conilab

anything we know that is googleable isn't worth anything

I was informed last night by a very clever teenager, who may or may not be walking around with a black eye this morning, that anything I know that he can google he knows, too.

And also that inspirational blog posts are really written for the writer and not the reader.

hmmm ....

There is a problem with his way of looking at things, mostly in a "he don't know what he don't know" kind of way, but the truth in it irritated the hell out of me.

Not the inspirational blog post stuff, I already know that.

There being no value in retaining information is a little troubling though - not so much for me, this is actually excellent news for me, since I have lost all ability to retain any information at all, but troubling for us.


The real value of information has always been the way we put it together and make it work - we still need to reframe it. I don't think Google can do this yet. I don't think.

I accidentally banged into this kid with my elbow when he was leaving. At least I hope it was an accident. Smart people make me nervous. Smart alecks made me accident prone. This can make me dangerous.

Also my elbows are extremely pointy - like scary pointy - hubs calls my arms double jointed because they bend backwards at a slightly strange angle and have these pointy elbows like a reptile. I'm not really sure what double jointed means or if there even is such a thing. But wait a minute that would be googleable - so I guess I do know ...

have fun! seriously print by the amazing coni in barcelona

Have some serious fun this weekend - I will be deep into my project - yes, project managers work weekends - I guess we don't know what we don't know either.

my day so far .... a short rant without any actual ranting .....

I have been working with cork all day which is kind of like working with paper.

It leaves my hands dry and flaky and with that awful sensitivity like I just soaked in a tub for 2 hours, but without my Nook and the wine and ... well the soak in a hot tub that makes those puckered fingers all worth it.

While I have been working I am watching one of the Kill Bills - the good one where Uma punches her way out of that coffin, claws her way out of the ground and kicks a one-eyed Darryl Hannah's ass.

This is kind of how I have been feeling lately - sometimes like I am covered in dirt and sometimes like I have just clawed my way out and am ready to take on the world

(I wouldn't take on Darryl Hannah though - she gets arrested every couple years for some eco-'terrorism' plus she was that squeaky voiced mermaid, so I kind of like her).

I am working on a new ... well, I'll just call it a 'project' for now

because 1. I like to think of my work as top secret, like industry spies have infiltrated New Jersey and I may need some Wonka-type maneuvering to outwit them

and 2. I get to call myself a project manager.

I have been doing this for the last couple weeks and I really like the sound of it. I even got to write it on a patient information form for a new doctor, then I got to be particularly vague when she asked me about the type of projects I manage. I may have left her with the impression there is some kind of secret government agency involved ... which might be true, who knows, Olive has been acting a little suspicious lately.

Also today I had a couple people from our local historical society stop by and ask to include our old house on an old house tour - but it turns out our old house isn't old enough .. it just looks old enough. This is probably not a good thing.

You might think I'd be fun to talk to, but I'm not. I think the people from the historical society thought I would be fun to talk to - probably because I was smiling very big when I opened the door (yes, gums and everything I'm not sure why). They quickly realized I am not so good at unstructured conversation, but I am always friendly to historical (I think because I confuse them with hysterical) people.

Anyhoo, that's about all I've got - Uma is about to kill Bill, so I have to get up and turn off the telly, I much prefer happily ever afters .... and how was your day? xo all

another note from the universe ...

No more "supposed tos", ok Cat?

You're not supposed to - work harder, sleep less, sell more, talk slower, run faster, look younger, try harder, do more, stay longer, leave earlier, cook, clean, negotiate, settle, start, stop, move, win, shake, rattle or roll

(well, maybe you are supposed to shake, rattle and roll)

Other people made all that up.

I love you the way you are.

The Universe :)

New Moon in Leo .... Uranus in Aries - time for some passionate making makers!

lions and tigers oh my - my bracelet with cuddly rigor mortis
I am not quite done with the project I am working on (more on this later) but wanted to pop back in for today's new moon.

Today's new moon is in the fiery sign of Leo.

Today was also my mother's birthday. My mother was a Leo. All - "I am the solar queen of the universe. Let me perform."; married to another fire sign, an Aries, you can only imagine the romance and craziness and creativity and damage that could produce! Damn we miss them!

We can't see a new moon, but we can definitely feel it and it affects the energies here. This new moon is an excellent time to set intentions for stuff connected to the lionhearted, wonderful sign of Leo.

Stuff like romance - intense romance - let's just say passion, creativity, loyalty, generosity, playfulness, recognition, leadership, follow through, stamina, pride, health areas ruled by Leo - heart, energy, inflammations

What are we passionate about? What is our heart desiring now?

So, for example some intentions I am setting today:

1. I easily express my creativity for its own sake
2. I will create a clear path to journey upon to fulfill my heart's desire
3. I easily take the right actions with my business that cause me to be recognized in a positive way
4. I easily complete the tasks I set before myself
5. I easily take action that result in perfect heart and energy health

AFFIRMATION TIPS: get into a happy frame of mind - always make affirmations from a  positive place - write your affirmations down by hand, speak them out loud - I always write my affirmations on strips of paper and put them into a bowl of rice so I can mix them around every now and then with my fingers if things get stagnant - then release your attention from them knowing that your intention is known. Know these things are already yours.

We have some interesting stuff coming along next month - so, right now is a great time to breathe.

Breathe in light (there is lots of it right now) and exhale compassion and gratitude.

Next month is the end of this cosmic nine month birth cycle we have been in since the winter solstice. We are being asked to maintain our center and stay calm no matter what occurs in the world around us. Things will probably start happening quicker next month or maybe all at once in order to awaken as many people on this planet as possible in a cosmic push to our tipping point.

Awakening usually occurs when something is revealed that was not known before that rocks the foundation people base their lives on ... it might be something big because anyone who is still asleep after these last few years probably needs a big shove - the rest of us will feel it, too, though .... we just stay centered, know that we create our reality, all is as it should be ..... go within, go outdoors, stay grounded. And for now - let's enjoy our days and our nights and this wonderful, lion-hug of a moon by doing whatever it is we are doing right now with passion!