What I’ve Been Doing

Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for us. It’s the time when we hurry to finish the last of our ranch work for the year and send calves off to market during the bouts of bad weather and hubby’s schedule changes. As that is all done, I thought it was about time to share about what I’ve been doing lately.

Graphic & Book Designs

Just a few of the items I’ve worked on.

The last few months, I’ve been working on some client work, which included an Etsy shop banner with matching banners for YouTube and Audiobooks, some series covers for western romance, typography for a series of premade covers, a cover change and book formatting for historical fiction for an author who got the rights to her books back from her publisher, and a cover and book formatting for a fiction.

Writing The Lost Heir Series

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on The Lost Heir Series. This has been one of those writing projects that I work on for a few weeks and then abandon for a few months because I’m indecisive about something. As of November, I have 4 short novels completed in the series with several more to go.

I decided from the beginning of this series that I wouldn’t publish any of them until I was done with the series. I’m doing this because I have this tendency to realize too late that I wrote myself into a corner and that I have to tweak a few things in the earlier books to fix the problem before I can move on. I would feel weird about doing this if the books were published.

Last month, I started questioning my format decisions for the books and started to wonder if I should combine some of them into longer novels that are more common of the fantasy genre.

The Etsy Shop

While the Etsy shop isn’t doing horrible for a new shop, it isn’t doing that great either. I know that part of that is my fault as I haven’t given my shop the attention it needs.

I know that I need to find my passion and focus on that niche, but like everything else in life I have a few of them. I’m having a hard time picking a focus for my shop.

Lately, I’ve been focusing where the money is and, for the moment, that has been with graphic design jobs and writing. What I’ve made from the several jobs I accepted this year should cover the costs of business, but freelance jobs have never been that consistent, especially with more authors learning to format and create book covers.

I’m debated the possibility of closing my Etsy Shop at the end of this year and I really wish I didn’t have to.

Working on Loving the Goddess of Love

The new cover for the book.

Since my momentum for The Lost Heir Series started to lag in October, I decided it was probably time to redo Loving the Goddess of Love. There are some scenes in the book that I knew need some work to make it better and one scene that I might have to rewrite altogether.

I’m at the half way mark of the book and looking forward to the wedding of Aphrodite and Hephaestus. This is one of the books that I wanted to have republished years ago, but I don’t think I was ready to go over it until this year. Once it is ready, I’ll also be publishing the short story that went with it, An Angel in Tartarus.

Working on Christmas Gifts & Handmade Projects

Especially this blanket. Miss Kiara is demanding her afghan. LOL

My main focus for November and December has been to finish all the partial handmade projects I have around here, starting with the Christmas gifts I’m working on for family and friends. This includes the afghan above, a pair of wool socks, a pair of wool-free socks, a round wash cloth, a blanket shawl, tea towels, a crochet loofah, three shawls, and framing finished cross stitch.


Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

Stephannie Beman

New in the Shop! Hats, Scarves, & Shawls

As Fall is approaching, it’s the start of our haying season here on the Ranch. And while not yet cold, the nights are becoming a tad bit chilly. So it seemed like a great time to pull out the hats, scarves, and shawls I’ve made and place them in my shop. This will be their last hoorah before I discontinue the line of my handcrafted winter wear. I’m looking at focusing more on home and office decor, printables, planners, and patterns.

Hats & Hoods

Most of my hats and hoods are for Adults, but I have 2 that fit my 5 year-old grandbaby and my teenage daughter. If you don’t like any of the colors, size, or fiber types for any of of the hats and would like me to custom make you one, just drop me an email.

Scarves & Shawls

I’m a big fan of scarves and shawls and this is just a few of the ones I have designed over the years. I have a few more that I will be adding as soon as I can get my model to show them off. If you don’t like any of the color, size, or fiber type of any of the scarves or shawls, but would like me to make you one, just drop me an email.

Patterns

And for those who want to create your own Shawls, I have 2 patterns in the shop at the moment with more on the way.

Now I better get back to haying. I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Wishing everyone the very best,

Stephannie Beman

New In my Shops!

In January, I announced my intention to continue adding items to my Etsy shop when I had the time while creating a web shop here. Well, as usual, that plan I had for the web shop had to be modified within the first month because it wasn’t working the way I had hoped.

Stephannie Beman's Shop, Shop Banner, Vintage and Handcrafted lovelies from my Homestead to yours!

After a few tries and longer than I would have liked, I finally decided to make this easy for me and started revamping what I had. As of this week, the final touches have been added and both my web shop page and my Etsy shop have been updated to my satisfaction.

I do have some small changes that I will be working on for my web shop but they won’t be implemented until I have more items to added.

Now my web shop page has everything I sell listed there with a link to where they may be purchased. The only exception is the books as they are widely distributed and the various links can be found on their pages. And some time in the future, some items on my Etsy shop will only be found in my web shop.

Some New Items in my Shop!

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Craft Journal for Makers & Designers: the letter-sized PDF is $4.00 at Etsy or the printed A5 spiral bound journal $16.00 at LULU
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Vintage Porcelain Mantel Clock $75.00 at Etsy
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Spring Table Placemat (several color options available)| MADE TO ORDER $33.00 at Etsy
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Hexagon Full-Sized Blanket Afghan | Ready to Ship $250 at Etsy
Let the Sun Shine In! Vintage Cross-Stitch Pattern Book $6.00 at Etsy

✤ Until March 25, 2020, various items in my Etsy shop will be on sale. This will be the last time that some of these items will be on sale or even on the shelf. So take advantage of the 15% off while it lasts! ✤

2020 Goals + What I’m Doing

Time flies when you are having fun, or the world falls into utter chaos, it’s kinda a toss up.

Welcome to 2020! I know I’m about 20 days late with a goal post for 2020, but there is a good reason for it. 2019 was definitely a year that I was glad to see disappear, although I’m not sure I was ready for 2020 to be here. I feel like I had so may goals and projects that I wanted to finish and work on, only to watch them crumble into dust.

At first, watching these dreams die bothered me, until I really sat down and took a good look at what I was doing and why I was doing it. It took me a bit of time, because to be honest I’m a very stubborn person who doesn’t let things go easily, and what I realized was working towards an end that wasn’t something I really wanted in the first place.

So I’ve decided to try an new approach for 2020, something I’m hoping will help bring back my passion to write and allow me to get some of my sewing and crochet projects finished too. Something that will make me happy to do instead of being one more thing on my already busy plate.

After quite a bit of discussion with my awesome hubby and a great friend about running a business, I’ve decided to shift my focus from running a successful business to just having fun doing what I love. And what I love to do, besides hang out with my cute kids and sexy husband, is write and craft items for my family, friends, and home. So that is what I’m going to do.

This means the 4 goals I had chosen to focus on in 2020 and posted on my Facebook Page had to be tweaked to reflect where I want to go in 2020. Which is from running a business to working at a hobby within my own time frame.

My Plans for this Year

Or as a friend of mine once called them, the dreaded goals.

However, I think if you view goals as dreadful or too much work, you are probably doing it wrong. I know I’m continuously doing them wrong because they never work despite the fact that I love creating goals to work on.

I know that there is this formula to make specific, measurable, realistic, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals, and that if it is a large goal, it’s best to break it down into smaller parts and set deadlines, but it doesn’t work for me at all.

I’ve tried it over and over again and something almost always pops up to trip me up. So rather than a list of lofty goals this year, I’m sticking with 4 goals and only 4 goals. These are things that I really want to accomplish or will have fun working on.

#1: I will be working on The Lost Heir Series!

Writing and finishing the Lost Heir Series has been a main focus of my for the last few years, but I basically tripped myself up by trying to force it into a format that I thought would make it easier for me and that would sale. Once I got my out of my own way this year and let the story write itself, everything fell into place.

Book #1, Butcher of Jhedek Pass, was finished sometime last year and placed on the shelf until I finished the other books. Book #2, Rebels & Traitors, caused me a fair amount of problems and took months of me writing it, tearing it apart to rewrite, and worrying over if I was doing it right to eventually abandon it. Last week, I finally completed book 2 and moved to book 3. Both books 1 and 2 were sent to my first reader on Thursday.

Friday, I started setting up the scenes for Book #3, The Healer’s Warrior, and editing them Saturday. The only reason I’m able to have these books done so quickly at the moment, is that I have already written over 200,000 words in this series before I decided to change the format.

The later books in the series will have more scenes that I will have to write and take me more time. I would like to finish this series in 2020, but as I haven’t any idea how many books this series will have I don’t know if that is feasible. But I’m going to definitely push for getting close.

#2: Declutter my craft stash.

You know those people who hold on to plastic grocery bags until they have a collection that are taking over their life, or at least their pantry or underneath the sink. The ones who can’t seem to recycle them, give them away, or throw them away.

Well, I’m that person, only it’s not so much a problem with plastic bags, as it is with craft items or potential craft items and odd ball things that should probably be thrown away but I haven’t done it because I might just be able to use it one day!

It’s not quite on the level of “hoarder” yet, but if I don’t either make stuff with it then it is time to get rid of it.

#3: Buy nothing more to add to my craft stash until I use what I have.

I have a lot of items in my stash, from cloth to cross-stitch kits to needlepoint to various yarn to jewelry making supplies, and it’s becoming a little unruly of late. I won’t be buying any more craft items until I use what I have in my stash. That means I’m working to finish any started project, of which there are only about 4.

After that, I will be working on some projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. This includes a pair of socks, a few crocheted sweaters or hooded vests, some sewn shirts and skirts from the cloth that I have been holding onto, a pair of sleep shorts for Miss T, some bralettes for the girls from some of my pants, and possibly a coat or rug from the jeans that I couldn’t bare to throw out.

Left to right: the Woodland Wrap Shawl, a bowl of yarn samples set aside for other projects, and the Woodland Hood.

Now the only exception to this goal will be when I work on custom orders for people because I don’t usually have what I need on hand and if I need to buy something to finish a project.

#4: Continue to add items to my shops.

I almost pitched Etsy over the side in December, but after some debate with myself, I’ve decided to keep it with some modifications to how I’m going to run it. I’m not going to force myself to add a listing a week or 2 listings a month. I’m just going to add the few finished projects I have around here to my Etsy shop when I feel like working on it. I’m not in any hurry.

But first, I want to update my web shop will all the changes I’ve made to the listings at Etsy. At one point, some of the Etsy listings will only be found here.

Reserve Goal: Republish Loving the Goddess of Love & An Angel in Tartarus

An Angel in Tartarus is actually all ready, but I’ve been waiting to complete the edits to Loving the Goddess of Love before I republish them both. I’m only adding this goal because I’ve been wanting to complete it, but only if I finish the other goals before the end of the year. This has been something that has really been bugging me and I would love to get it out of the way if I have the time, but it wasn’t as important to my creativity to do it now.


Wishing you all the best in January!

Stephannie Beman

Where Did All the Pages Go

Some of you might notice, others might have missed it, and there are probably other who don’t care, but as of Wednesday evening, most of the pages on this website disappeared.

I’ve started the somewhat slow process this week of updating every page on this website because so much has changed and some of the pages haven’t changed with the times. Since I kept loosing track of what I edited and what I didn’t, I decided that it was best to unpublish everything and update and republish each page individually

There is probably a better way to do it, but this way works the best for me.

What some of you might notice later is that some of those pages were combined while other pages will not be returning. I’m not just streamlining my behind-the-scene process, I’m minimizing this website to make it easier to find things and easier for me to maintain. Kinda a win-win all around

So here is a list of changes that you will notice or be noticing soon:

#1 The Book Section

This section was removed because it was in need of an update and it will be the first section that I bring back. I’m starting by removing anything that isn’t physically out on the market. Then I’ll be removing all the pages no one ever visits. After that I’ll add some pages that I think will be more useful for readers. Anything that will be coming out in the future will only be added when I’m ready to publish it and have a publishing date for them.

#2 The Handmade & Vintage Shop

For a while I was tempted to remove this section completely from my website and just focus on putting stuff on my Etsy shop since it is far easier to do so and I didn’t have the time to add items to both shops. Only I’m learning really quick that I’m not a fan of some of the changes that Etsy is making and would rather create a shop here.

However, the way I went about the shop here was kind of messy. I kept adding more and more stuff at Etsy, and even tweaking and expanding the collections over there. I waited to add things to my web shop until I had more time. But that never happened. Now nothing lines up between my web shop and Etsy, which my brain doesn’t like.

With the holidays fast approaching, which limits my extra cash, and since it would cost more to create the shop I would feel comfortable ordering from than I’m willing to part with at this time, it’s going to have to wait until the new year to upgrade my website into a shop, until then though, I will be adding all 30+ items here, plus adding the others before I add them on Etsy.

So those who are more comfortable ordering printables, handmade goods, vintage items, or even custom order a gift directly from me rather than Etsy can contact me with their order.

#3 The Design Service Section

This section will probably be the last one I work on, because I have some research to do first. I have been wanting to offer more services to authors than just the book cover design lately. These services are for authors who need some help with the writing and even the publishing process. Much like an author’s assistant or writing coach.

I do know that I will be downsizing the page and making it look more like a shop page to help authors navigate it easier.

#4 The Blog

I’ll be doing something different with this blog, or maybe I should say that I’m returning to an early time with it. I’m tired of trying to stick to scheduled posts that apparently my brain doesn’t like to do and finds ways to sabotage after a short sprint. There is one last scheduled post about what I read left before I start something else.

So, how long are these changes going to take?

I’m not really sure. This week will be very busy for me with editing, writing, and sewing.

The basic pages that were the easiest to update and add back are already up. The Book section is my next priority and I don’t see it taking more than a week to finish. The Handmade & Vintage Shop will need the most updating and I will have to add more pages for the products. The Design/Author Service page will take the longest time to go through and I don’t expect it to be done until sometime around the first of the year.

The plan is to see how far I can get in updating my website this week as my work schedule is sporadic and I probably won’t get much writing done. Starting next week, I plan to work on a page or two each day until I’m done.

Wishing you all the very Best this November,

Stephannie Beman

Heads Up! It’s an Update!

It’s been brought to my attention by my daughter that it’s been nearly a month since my last blog post and that she believes that another post is in order. She tells me that this is because if I “want to be any kind of blogger or Youtuber of note, you have to post often”. I didn’t have the heart to tell my hormonal 13 year old that I don’t want to be a blogger most days, and the idea of being a Youtuber makes me want to pull the plug on the Internet altogether.

I’m debating if that would be a good thing or a bad thing. I think I could live without it far easier than most of the other people in this house. Not that we have time to be on it all the time. They just spend more time playing on it while I only work and sometimes shop on it.

But regardless of who would and wouldn’t survive the disconnect of the computer, she was right about one thing: it is time for an update on what I’m doing.

This Website is Receiving an Update

I won’t get into too much detail as I address it in my next post. Yes, it’s already written and pre-scheduled, but only because the update post was getting way too long and I decided to split it in 2. Which means this portion of the post was written last. LOL

I Finished Editing An Angel in Tartarus

I was talking to my sister about this short story and she offered to give it a once over. She had some awesome suggestions that I took and it motivated me to send it to my editor for a once over.

Cover Coming Soon
New Cover Coming Soon

I got in back from my lovely editor, who I hope will always edit my stories, and went through the suggested changes. It’s now ready to republish, but since I don’t have the companion novel that goes with it edited, I’m going to wait until Loving the Goddess of Love ready to be republished.

I’m Working on Custom Orders

A family friend has commissioned a curtain from me and even provided the fabric. We owe him a lot, so I’m doing it as part of his Christmas gift. I plan to work on this project today along with two other sewing projects.

My other custom order projects include: 4 hand embroidered tea towels and a winter-themed linen table runner. The cloth for the table runner needs to be cut to size and the raw edges hemmed up, so I plan to do that when I work on the curtain.

I printed out the patterns I’m using last night, so I’ll trace them with a heat transfer pencil and get the snowmen designs transferred to the tea towels so I can start embroidering them this weekend. The table runner will wait until I’m done with the edges so I can make sure the images I printed are big enough.

Lastly, I’m using a pair of old jeans to create a cover for my hybrid Bullet Journal / Travel’s Notebook system so I can keep all my notebooks and planners in one place. Unless I decide to make 2. I want to finish before the new year when I get my new writer’s planner.

I’d Rather Be Writing 2020 Planner, PDF $12.99 & Printed $16.99

I’m Back to Writing The Lost Heir

For the past month, I’ve been working on The Lost Heir Series and I really want to finish it up. This is a series of novella length books about the Rebel Cynel and the Seer Mina whose quest to find the Lost Heir to the Empty Throne leads them down some dark paths and intertwine their fates in unexpected ways.

So far I’ve reading through Book 1, The Butcher of Jhedek Pass, to refresh my memory of the story. Then I started reading Book 2, The Warlord’s Daughter, which was basically finished and just needed a few scenes to complete the story. Now I’m moving to Book 3, Rebels & Traitors.

Rebels & Traitors is already about 17,000 words and since I’m aiming at between 20,000-30,000 for each story, I’m pretty sure that it won’t take me long to wrap that book up either.

New covers will need to be updated to fit the new titles of the books and series, much like most of the things around here. LOL

And if that wasn’t enough…

I joined NaNoWriMo 2019

This will be the first time since 2012 that I will be doing this. I’m mostly doing it to support my sister who wanted to try it out and not because I wanted to do it.

I know that NaNoWriMo is helpful to many writers, I’ve just never been one of them. In the past, it has done nothing to motive me which is why I dropped doing it after 2 years. With all the things on my plate, I’m not confident in my ability to write 50k words in November, but it can’t hurt to try.


So there you have it. That is what I’m going to be doing for the next little while. What are you guys doing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

In Which I Debate Killing A Few Things + a Show & Tell

Because I want to make my handmade shop work for our lifestyle, I’ve been diving into what it takes to run a successful handmade business while making it flexible enough for our life. Most of what I’ve learned isn’t really anything new. There are many things that don’t change from one business to another, but there are also things that aren’t so universal.

But some of the things I’ve learned make me want to kill a few things. Like the person who created SEO, my Facebook Page and basically every social media platform every created for sucking me into procrastinating and doing absolutely nothing for my self-esteem, all the business “gurus” who spout off how to succeed but have little to no real time success that I can find or the business gurus that give advice that isn’t feasible for my lifestyle but make me feel guilty by not doing what they tell me to, and the idiots who decided to screw up US sales tax for online businesses by making it harder than it really needs to be and throwing a monster wrench into my website plans. I swear they are all created to drive me insane.

Because of many of the above, I’ve had to rethink my goals and plans. Like I’m going to have to downsize some of my plans into more manageable steps before I can implement them. I’m going to have to drop some plans because, as things are at this moment, they won’t work for me. I’m going to have to slow some plans down and do more research before spending time on them.

And because of the confusing sales tax laws that I don’t have the time to figure out right now, I won’t be able to open a fully operational shop on my website anytime soon. For the time being you will find :

  • All my vintage and handcrafted products on Etsy.
  • All my digital planners and organizers, patterns, and printables on Etsy and Payhips.
  • My printed planners, books, and eBooks can be found on Payhips and various eBookstores like B&N and Amazon. Each book will have the different shops.

I wish it could be different, but at this time I don’t have the money to upgrade my website. As with all my business, I try to stay out of debt by funding all purchases for my business from my business income. This means that other than custom orders, I won’t buy anything new. Instead, I utilize my various craft stashes to create whimsical items I believe others would love as much as I do.

You may still order anything straight from me if you want, just send me a request via email me or my contact form.

Now on to a Show & Tell

I’m so thankful for everyone who has supported my new business, both handcrafted and book related. It’s been a busy September with getting handcrafted items out to customers, adding more into my shop, making a few for my family, creating mock ups of ideas that may or may not be sold, and working on editing a short story for republishing.

There were a few horrible flops dealing with paper mache and jewelry that I will either need to rethink or give up altogether. The tags I had printed for my handcrafted products in August (I followed this DIY for them) ended up being too big for small things like bookmarks and too awkward to sew on crochet items, so I’m going to have to rethink how I want to change them for those items.

I’ve been sewing these labels onto my tea towels that I hope to start listing in October.

I stitched up a few small bags and fingerless gloves from crocheted granny squares that I uncovered while cleaning up my stashes. These were leftover from an afghan I made a few years back and I couldn’t see throwing them out.

The gloves turned out to be women’s small (I only know this because that is the size of gloves I wear.). The small bags turned out better then I hoped. I was going to put the ones I finished in my shop, but the girls stole them all. They put Pokemon cards and ear buds in the bags and wore the gloves to school. I’ll have to wait until I have more scrap yarn before I make some more.

The small bags ended up being the perfect size for my business cards.

My biggest order to date was 6 crochet winter placemats in a beautiful variegated blue, 4 matching crochet washcloths, and an awesome custom ordered T-shirt with the hand embroidered phrase “I’d Rather Be Writing” and quill on it. I’m debating making one for me because I love everything about it!

Then there was the 2 custom ordered linen placemats with custom embroidered image in the corner. Sorry about the splash of pink, sadly I can’t share the design for a number of reasons. These were bought as a gift for someone else and I’ve been told that she absolutely loves them which made me happy to hear. 😀

Almost a year ago I was at Jo-Ann’s and bought this mermaid pendant. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with it. I’ve created a few designs for it that I haven’t been all that happy with. While going through my box of broken jewelry and jewelry makings looking for jump rings for my daughters necklace, I uncovered these set of “pearls” that needed a new clasp siting next to the pendant and it just clicked. I really liked the look and now I’m really tempted to make a mermaid jewelry collection sometime in the future. LOL

I ran across this tiny cross stitch birdhouse that I created several years ago when I was creating a new design for a wall hanging for my mom. I added fusible interfacing to the back and stitched the edges closed. This was suppose to be an experiment in using fusible interfacing on the back of my bookmarks. It worked so much better than the cloth that I’m backing all my bookmarks with interfacing. I also decided to add this bookmark to my shop.

I finished another Birthday Bookmark to add to the collection. I love these hand stitched bookmarks for several reasons. They are beautiful, durable, washable, and long lasting. I still have the first cross stitch I ever made. This bookmark still looks like new 20+ years later, so does the December Bookmark I made for myself is over 15+ years ago.

Soon to be added to my shop.

I have an idea for the bookmarks that I’m working on implementing in October with all my hand stitched bookmarks that I’m hoping will make them more appealing to book lovers like myself. 😀

Well, I better get going. I have a lot of projects I want to work on and some changes I need to do on this website before the day is done.

Wishing you all the very best,

Stephannie Beman