Posted in Artists, author, Books, crafting, H. S. Contino, markets, Oregon history, promotion, sale, updates, Writing

Sale Announcement!

Good afternoon,

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I’m having a big sale in my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner. I love making stuff, and I usually sell both online and at craft fairs and farmers markets through out the year. But with all of the pandemic cancellations over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to make stuff and not a lot of market opportunities. This has led to a surplus of inventory. I’d rather sell it at a discounted price then continue to store it. Besides, selling my work gives me an excuse to make new stuff!

Handmade Craft Liquidation Sale!

I’ve marked down almost all of my handmade crafts and crafting supplies to 50% off! 

Autographed Book Sale!

Autographed copies of all of my published books are 30% off!

Free Shipping on Orders of $35 or more (US only)!

The sale prices are currently set to expire at the end of March, but I may extend the date. 

My books on display at the Pony Village Mall Winter Farmers Market, 2021.

 

Have a great weekend!

 ~ H. S. Contino 

Posted in Artists, author, crafting, H. S. Contino, promotion, sale, updates, Writing

New Beginnings & Rough Starts

Good morning!

Long time no blog (sorry about that)… 

So I’m one of those people that feels like I get a “fresh start” twice a year– at the beginning of a new year and on every birthday. On both of these occasions, I reflect on my life and both the areas where I’m doing well and where there is room for improvement. After all, a big part of the human experience is learning from our mistakes so we can become better people.

January 2022 was a good example of this attitude. I had so many ideas and plans! But, as often happens, things didn’t go according to plan…

In my last post of 2021, I shared my plans for “Penniless January.” The basic idea was to try to make it through an entire month without spending money on anything other than my basic bills (for example: housing and utilities). I even stocked up on groceries ahead of time– with an emphasis on shelf stable foods. Unfortunately, I over-looked one big bill that was due in January– my car insurance. This bill alone through my entire budget off.

***

2022 came in with a roar here on the Oregon coast. We experienced several back to back winter storms complete with heavy rain and exceptionally strong winds. We even got a little snow (which is rare)! There were several nights that I lay in bed listening to the rain pounding against the windows of my house, and I could feel the wind tugging and pulling at the walls of my little old house. 

I woke up the morning after one of these storms to discover that one of the smaller trees in my yard had been knocked over by a wind gust. Fortunately, it fell away from the house. But, it was partially leaning against my wooden fence. I was worried that the continued weight would damage the fence, so I felt like I had no choice but to go outside– in the freezing rain– to deal with the tree situation.

Initially, I hoped I might be able to salvage the tree. But, upon close inspection, I realized that it had snapped at the base. So my only choice was to chop up the tree and get the weight off of the fence. The problem was that I don’t own a chainsaw. Technically, I could have used a credit card to buy one, but that would have tanked my “Penniless January” experiment. Instead, I used the tools I had on hand: long handle pruning shears and a hand saw.

 As an added complication, I have fibromyalgia… So, me standing out in the freezing rain while sawing away at a downed tree was a really bad idea. It took me three days to chop up the downed tree. I’d go outside for 20-30 minutes at a time and work until my pain levels got unbearable. Then I’d go back inside, change into dry clothes, take a pain pill, and rest. Once the medication kicked in, I’d go back outside. Fortunately, by the third day the rain had stopped. Plus, my neighbor saw me working and offered to loan me his power saw. What a difference it made! I was able to get more done in an hour with the power saw then I’d gotten done in two days with my wimpy tools!

***

My other January plans included posting blog posts more often. I know I don’t have much of an online following, so it can be easy to neglect my blog. WordPress was advertising a program called “Bloguary” so I signed up. The basic idea was that they’d send bloggers daily emails with a line of text that was supposed to inspire us to write a blog about it– then tag it #Bloguary.

Once again, I had great intentions. It seemed like a fun idea– and I could really use the inspiration. The problem was that my reaction to most of the supposedly inspirational email messages was “Eh.” 

I did save a few– which I intended to write about– but I never did. For example:

“What is your favorite quote and why?”

***

There were other January projects, but you get the idea. I began the new year full of ideas and plans, but so far each and every one of them is off to a rough start. Don’t get me wrong– I’m still trying! For example, I’m still plugging away at my finances with the goal of paying off my debts and achieving modest financial freedom. I’m also continuing to work on editing my novel, “The Other Mae,” with the goal of releasing the Beta Reader edition by the end of the year.

So, I’m still plugging away at my New Year Resolutions and goals. It’s just that I’ve been feeling discouraged because so far nothing has gone according to plan so far this year… 

On the flip side, there have been a few positive surprises. For instance, I’ve been pet sitting as a “side gig” for a number of years. Most of my clients are people I know– co-workers, neighbors, and friends. But, back in 2019, I signed up with Rover to try to pick up a few more clients. Once the pandemic hit in early 2020, I stopped receiving booking requests. Flash forward two years and people are starting to transition from working at home back to traditional work places. Since January, I’ve been receiving lots of requests for drop-in pet visits and dog walks while my clients are at work. 

I’ve always loved animals so pet sitting is the perfect side job for me. I enjoy visiting with and looking after the animals. Plus, it allows me to continue “social distancing.” Aside from an initial “Meet and Greet” with new clients, it’s usually just me and the dogs or cats. I also like being able to reassure my clients that their pets are being well cared for while they’re at work– so they have one less thing to worry about.

As an added bonus, I have several regular clients that live fairly close to me. This allows me to work on creative projects at home– like editing my novel– then take a break to go look after a client’s job. It’s a perfect balance!

***

Well, this post is getting pretty long– I guess that’s what happens when you don’t post an update for a few months. Oops!

I have one more update to share. I’ve been a vendor on Etsy since 2011. Unfortunately, my online sales have been nose diving for a while now. I think the problem is that my shop and the items I have for sale “get lost in the shuffle.” There are so many people selling crafts on the website. Plus, you have to pay extra for advertising if you want your items to show up in the first few pages of search results. So between the listing, advertising, and sales fees, I have to sell a lot to cover the monthly fees.

Since the start of the pandemic, the type of stuff I sell– handmade crafts and books I wrote myself– just haven’t been selling. I think most people have been in “survival mode” and mostly spending money on essential stuff (like groceries). While I understand where they’re coming from, this has meant that my Etsy shop has been in the red most months.

Then I received an email this morning from Etsy informing sellers that they’re increasing the % of the sales fee…

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to have a liquidation sale then put my Etsy shop in “vacation mode” for a while. There’s a good chance that I’ll end up closing my online shop eventually. But, for now, I need to try to sell my remaining stock then wait and see. 

So, starting tomorrow (February 26th), most handmade crafts and crafting supplies will be 50% off. Autographed copies of my books will be 30% off.

www.etsy.com/shop/ReprievesCorner

***

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and for supporting my creative pursuits. I really appreciate it!

~ H. S. Contino

 

Posted in H. S. Contino, sale, updates

December Specials & Upcoming Markets

 Good morning!

Can you believe that it’s December already? This year has flown by!

I’ve just got a few updates today. First, I’ll be continuing to discount everything in my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner, through the end of the year.

December Specials:

Autographed Books 25% Off (all titles– including my new novel, Alternatives)!

Handmade Jewelry 50% Off! 

All Handmade Crafts, Vintage, & Supplies 40% Off!

Free shipping on orders of $35 or more (US only)

Upcoming Markets:

Coquille Eagle’s Holiday Craft Bazaar

Friday, December 3rd– open 9 am until 5 pm

Saturday, December 4th– open 9 am until 4 pm

Location: Coquille Community Building, 115 N Birch Street, Coquille, OR 97423

This annual event always draws a large variety of local merchants. There are usually a few non-profit groups as well (including the local human society). Additionally, the Coquille Eagles usually have a booth where they sell fresh baked donuts– yum!

Pony Village Mall Holiday Craft Faire

Saturday, December 11th from 10 am until 4 pm

Location: Pony Village Mall, 1611 Virginia Avenue, North Bend, OR 97459

This will only be my 2nd time participating in this particular market. Last time there were a variety of vendors– some selling handmade items and some resale. Please, feel free to check it out!

(Shore Acres Light Display)

As you can see, it’s a scaled down list for me this year. Unfortunately, the combination of the global pandemic and my personal health issues have taken their toll on be over the past two years. As much as I enjoy participating in local markets (and visiting with members of our community), I’ve had to reduce the number of markets that I participate in.

As my regular readers know, I’m not the most consistent blogger. So, in case I don’t post again before then, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and for supporting my little crafting and writing business. I really appreciate it!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in author, Books, H. S. Contino, markets, Oregon coast, promotion, Reading, sale, updates, Writing

Welcome Fall!

 Good morning,

Here on the Oregon coast we’ve transitioned into the time of year where it’s necessary to wear layers. It tends to be chilly in the mornings, warm up to t-shirt weather during the afternoons, then get overcast and chilly again overnight. The result is a bunch of people constantly adding and removing layers of clothing as needed. (LOL)

Nature’s Fall Color Show…

It’s also the time of year that I start planning my holiday shopping. I’ve always been an introvert and large crowds give me anxiety, so I like to shop early. It’s also always a relief to have the shopping done ahead of time.

Since I’m sure I’m not the only one that takes this approach to gift shopping, I like to start running early sales and other promotional offers in my online Etsy shop, Reprieve’s Corner. Beginning October 1st, I’ve marked everything in my shop 30% off. This includes everything— my hand painted signs, hand made jewelry, hand sewn plush toys, autographed copies of my books, and even my new clay art!

Save 30% Shop Wide!

I’ve also been lining up fall and winter in-person markets. As everyone knows, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, so it won’t be a normal holiday shopping season. Some events have already been cancelled. Others are still being planned with plenty of restrictions in place to try to keep everyone healthy.

I’ll be posting more in the next few weeks as I line up in-person markets. If you’re local (southern Oregon coast) and here about an upcoming market, please feel free to send me a message. I’m always open to suggestions!

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying watching the leaves change colors and having an excuse to sip more warm beverages while snuggling in our warmest sweaters!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino

Posted in Artists, author, Book Reviews, Bookaholic, Books, community activities, H. S. Contino, history, Images of America, markets, Oregon coast, Oregon history, promotion, Reading, sale, social networking, updates

Florence Festival of Books Follow-Up

Good morning! 

Earlier this month I wrote about the upcoming Florence Festival of Books. The event is usually annual, but it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. I was excited to return this year. (Fun fact: the 1st annual Florence Festival of Books was in 2011– which was the year my first book was published. As a result, I can proudly say that I’ve attended every year!). 

This year got off to a bit of a rough start. It was stormy on the Oregon coast Friday night. I’m such a light sleeper that the strong winds and heavy rains woke me up several times. Fortunately, by Saturday morning the storm was letting up. It rained off and on during my drive to Florence, but it cleared up about an hour after the festival opened. 

My 2021 booth

I knew when I signed up that this year’s festival would be different. In fact, for the week leading up to the event, I half expected to receive a message saying it had been cancelled. We’ve been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases on the Oregon coast over the past few months (mostly due to the Delta variant). But, they decided to go ahead with the event while implementing several safety efforts. 

If you look closely, you might recognize the author in the lower left photograph.

In addition to requiring everyone (both vendors and visitors) to wear masks inside the Florence Events Center, they limited the number of booths. If I remember right, they said there was 1/3 less booth this year than in past years. This allowed them to space out the tables which made it easier for participants to practice social distancing. They also had hand sanitizer stations set up throughout the building.

Despite advertising the event through all of the regular channels, this year’s book festival didn’t draw as many visitors as it usually does. Given the circumstances, this wasn’t surprising; but, if I’m being brutally honest, it was still disappointing. 

I’m incredibly grateful to the people that did attend the event. I enjoyed chatting with the visitors to my booth. Since I wrote two books on local history, I tend to catch the attention of fellow history enthusiasts. This inevitably leads to interesting conversations! I also enjoyed catching up with several of my fellow west coast authors.

Baby book’s 1st book festival…

I’m looking forward to next year’s Florence Festival of Books. Fingers crossed that the world has returned to “normal” by then!

Happy reading!

~ H. S. Contino