Friday, January 23, 2009

Moving... again!

Here I go again.

Since I went and "moved" my etsy shop, it was sort of inevitable that my blog would follow suit. Darn it all though, I didn't claim "cathypeng" on blogger sooner. I found out that my web hosting service offers a free blog, so I tried it out the other afternoon. Kinda simple and boring to look at though:

Then I tried out typepad very briefly since my name was still available. But I couldn't figure out how to make it all pretty after fiddling with it for about an hour, so I could foresee blogging to be more of a task than fun in the future. Especially since I'd have to pay for it after the 2 weeks free trial period was up. So cathypengart it is. It's shorter than "cathyssweetshop", at least.

Some things I'm working towards for the new blog this year:

- updating more frequently, hopefully more than once a week
- fun giveaways of stuff made by me
- more photos of work-in-progress, our home, the city and other interesting things

Sorry to my readers ...
I hope you'll follow me to my new location.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today's Post is brought to you by the Letter C...

... for "C" I told you so.
And for Crappy with a capital "C".

I should really learn to take my own advice. Last night, against my better judgment, I decided to drink on an empty stomach. It was only a few sips of wine before dinner and I drank maybe 3 small glasses over 3-4 hours. I felt fine all through dinner and the rest of the evening. And fine when we went to bed.

A few hours into slumber though, I awoke and didn't feel so hot.

So here's a tip for anyone considering drinking alcohol on an empty stomach...

Unless you want to wake up in the middle of the night and start hurling.

More than once.

And cap it off by feeling rotten the next morning and the rest of the day.
Yes, I'm still feeling crappy.

At least that's my reasoning as to why I got sick. Either that or alcohol just doesn't agree with me anymore.
Yes, I'm getting old.

This post was going to be longer and more upbeat, but that's just not going to happen today. So I'll leave you with a few more pictures with the letter "C".

this is kinda how I feel - like someone took a bite out of me

and here's a sneak peek of my desktop these days

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year & A New Shop

Happy Belated New Year! Hope everyone's year is off to a good start. My first post of 2009 is a bit overdue. Better late than never though, right? That's sort of how I feel about my decision to rebrand my online shop. Back in February of 2006 when I opened my (first) etsy shop, I didn't really give much thought to the username I chose. But almost as soon as I picked the name, I wanted to change it. Fast forward to the end of 2008 and my wanting to turn over a new leaf despite some 800 sales and nearly 700 positive feedbacks. I did a bit of forum reading to see what other buyers and sellers thought about changing shop names and finally just decided to go for it. So my new shop was born a few days before the new year!

It's pretty much the same as before, just under a different name, my name, which will be my new business name soon (as opposed to Cathy Peng Illustration). I'm being a bit more selective about what I list in the shop, making sure there is a cohesive look to everything so I may phase out certain items altogether. I'm glad for not getting rid of these though, since they made the front page the other day and brought me quite a few sales afterwards.

Our holidays were pretty low-key since it was just Matt, me and the cats at home this year. We did make it to a few fun holiday get-togethers though, which is impressive for two rather anti-social creatures. After several weeks of overloading on sweets, mindless tv, and the internet, I'm feeling recharged and more creative these days. But all my hours of surfing the net were not wasted since I discovered and rediscovered some great new blogs and websites:
- Shinzi Katoh - whose art and designs I'm sure I've seen before but just never knew who was behind it.
- A Beautiful Mess - love the name of this girl's blog and the art that she creates and sells on etsy.
- Making it Lovely - a stationery designer whose home renos are amazing and inspiring.
- Apartment Therapy - for a peek inside others' homes and living spaces and for interior design tips.
- The Life Pursuit - another creative spirit who's inspiring me at the moment.

When I wasn't pigging out or vegging out, I was doing some major decluttering and reorganizing around our place. I rearranged my workspace for the hundredth time and finally feel satisfied with the setup. Pictures to come later this week (or month) once I've got art and other stuff hung up.

I'll sign off with our 2008 holiday photo. Three out of four of us were PhotoShopped in since we couldn't get the cats to stay still long enough for one decent shot. Can you guess which three?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 days and counting...

until Christmas! Phew. December has been flying by and I've been catching up on blog reading this morning. I'm a tad embarrassed that our tree is so minimally decorated after seeing so many other beautifully dressed ones among the blog world. There's still time to make some ornaments or pick up some if I dare brave the shops again in the next week.

This is the first Christmas tree for Dex (to our knowledge) and Suki's second, and so far they've both been pretty well behaved. A little paw batting of the red ornaments and rubbing up against the branches, but the tree is still standing. Since we spent last Christmas in Arizona, we opted to stay in Toronto this year. I wish our families could be here with us... I seriously don't have the energy to go anywhere. Working outside of the house for the past several months has drained me and I'm ready to hibernate until the New Year.

Creatively, I have felt a bit uninspired of late, but I hope to introduce some new things to the shop in 2009. As well, I look forward to sharing a new project that I've been working on with everyone soon. For now, I have to remain *hush hush* though.

Well, I best get busy and package up gifts to send to my family. If I don't get around to posting here again before Christmas, here's hoping everyone has a very Merry one!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hello, December.

I've been away from blogland for the past week and a half, so am late announcing the arrival of gift certificates in the shop. They're a Sweet Shop first.

Once again, I'm helping out this sweet gal at the One of a Kind Show, which is one of the reasons for the lack of blogging. The other is that I picked up some part-time work at a design firm down the street from us. Go figure that the almost perfect job for me was almost right under my nose, or only a 10 minute walk away. While I can handle working retail every once in a while, it is certainly not my favourite job in the world. Candice's booth can get pretty hectic at times - as her undies and briefs are a big hit - so by the end of a shift, I'm eager to get home.

Still, the crowds at the Show have not been that bad, and I'm sure they are nothing compared to the one that was gathered outside that Wal-Mart in New York this past Black Friday. Disturbing and crazy and sad all at the same time. Poor man. Matt told me about that incident while we were grocery shopping this morning and I almost couldn't believe my ears. My mom used to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, and though Saskatoon is not nearly as populous as New York, when there are deals to be had, I know people can be pretty fanatical about getting them. I remember seeing long lineups outside stores on Boxing Day morning in Saskatoon. Heck, I think I may have even stood in one myself years ago. And all to save a little big of money on stuff you probably don't even need. Was it worth it, people? A man's life for $50? May he rest in peace.

On a happier note - I don't want to end the post on a dour one - I received a lovely email from one of my sweet sweet customers the other day. She bought the painting above from me a while ago and had it framed. Her daughter is now the proud and happy owner of this piece and I feel blessed to know that someone else is enjoying this in her home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Sale Now On!

I feel so behind with the holidays this year. Every year around this time, I say I will start prepping earlier next year, but I still haven't mastered that feat. There's always next year to get my act together, though.

Since I don't think I'll have time to partake in any holiday shows, I'm having a big sale in my shop. (Click on image above to enlarge it) I've got an abundance of summer tees that I'd like to clear out to make room for new stock in 2009. So for every 2 tees or totes or a combination of 1 tee and 1 tote, you get a free tee/tote of your choice. The catch is that the free item has to be of equal or lesser value than the lowest priced item and also that the free item must be in stock.

Several new tees have been added to the shop and I will be listing more later today, as well as some other items.

I will be selling some of my goods at this event next Sunday, but won't actually be there. This lovely lady will be selling things on my behalf. Hope the event is a success. If any of you readers are in the Montreal area, please check it out.

And here's a cute image (I'm a little biased) that I came across the other day, c/o this awesome store's new site. They carry an assortment of my kitty items, which reminds me that I should send them some more stock soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Less than 60 Seconds or More than 90 Minutes?

Commuting is the topic and hmmm, that's a tough one. Let me think about it for a second... Not! Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am back working from home and loving it again. When faced with the choice of either getting up at 5 am 5 days a week and commuting for 1 and a half to 2 hours one way OR getting up when I please and walking up the stairs to my office, well, the choice was pretty clear. I mean I'd be missing out on priceless moments like the one in the photo above if I chose the former. And that is just one of the many reasons why I quit that job.

Not that the job was without its pros. But the cons definitely outweighed them. See, I even made a list:

- a steady income (for a little while anyways, as it was a contract job)
- it was art-related
- I didn't have to deal with the public
- social interaction with artistic peers; breaks and lunch time were usually entertaining and I met some really nice people there


- the 1.5 to 2 hour commute each way to the middle of nowhere-land, I mean, Richmond Hill
- 5 am daily wake-up
- $10 a day on transit
- our somewhat decent hourly wage would be changing to payment for the number of "things" you completed in a day, which for me as of last Friday topped the charts at 4... which would make my new hourly wage less than minimum
- a serious lack of good communication between management and staff, a lack of organization and generally too much secrecy; we did sign a confidentiality agreement when we started the job, but I didn't think it meant that we, as staff, would be kept in the dark about what they wanted from us. Heck, we didn't even know how long the contract was for until last Friday. And that wasn't even certain anyways. Things could have been run a lot smoother but I suppose everyone thinks he or she could do things better if he or she was in charge. Honestly though, it's not like I was working at the Canadian Intelligence... I was simply, oh, better not say.
- it was a messy and smelly environment
- social interaction (which was also a pro, but being a naturally introverted person, by the time I got home everyday, I'd be pretty spent, which isn't fair to Matt or the cats)
- not having the energy to do anything else creative once I got home, or even on the weekends
- the cats (mainly Dex, the attention hog) didn't seem too fond of the lack of attention and made it obvious by destroying some of my possessions or wreaking havoc in my office area, so much so that I had to rearrange my desk set-up just so nothing major got damaged.

I think that pretty much covers the pros and cons. Don't get me wrong, though. I am thankful to have had this job, if even only for a month. Every bit helps these days. And thanks, Stacey, for letting me know that your Turkey Day (or Tofurkey Day) hasn't come and gone yet. I wondered why I couldn't place it on my calendar. For some reason, I thought people had already celebrated it.

I can't forget to mention some funny and priceless moments related to this job:

1. The fact that I was even hired is pretty amazing. After arriving late for the interview or test, rather (as the job was based on specific skills you needed), I had to borrow money from my eventual supervisor just so I could get home. I had no idea that you have to pay extra fare after a certain point in Toronto. Had my supervisor not been so kind, I could have been stranded there for a while. I was too upset and hungry to even be that embarrassed though... Lesson learned: always bring enough cash with you.
2. Lack of sleep led me to take the wrong subway direction one morning.
3. Lack of sleep also led me to bring cat food for lunch one day, as my lunch and the cats' food were in similar containers. This led to me having to run to the nearest coffee shop, or shall I say running 1/3 of the way and gasping and walking the rest of the way there. Needless to say, I'm a tad out of shape.

Hopefully I can get back into a regular exercise regime for the winter. If not, oh well, I'll settle for hibernating with this other furball.