This past year, I have obsessed about:
Ravelry - While I still love ravelry and use the pattern and yarn searches a lot, I do not find that I am on the forums, or looking at my profile 50 times a day anymore. In fact, it's kind of sad to say, but I think I have only logged on about once a week or less lately.
Dave Ramsey - I ran accross Dave in the Gonna Be Debt Free group on Ravelry. It was at a time when our household was desperately struggling to make the bills. I was gigantic pregnant with the twins and full of all those lovely hormones. I latched onto his plan like a life preserver. I still listen to Dave's show via streaming on his website most days while I work, and am following the Total Money Makeover plan religiously, but I no longer have to ravenously read everything I can find on it. I have read enough and learned enough that I am ok to coast now.
Diaperswappers - I have 3 children in diapers. Did I mention that? When I was working out the budget, I realized that with the Costco sized diapers we were buying, that we went through a box for each child a month. That added up to almost $100 a month JUST FOR DIAPERS! It felt like extortion. Now, I had never thought about using cloth diapers. They seemed disgusting and like WAY too much hastle, but when I could buy enough diapers to last me until we were done for the same amount as just 2 or 3 months worth of disposables, I was ready to give it a try. I found the diaperswappers website also through a forum group on Ravelry. I spent a lot of time reading on Diaperswappers and the internet at large about the types of diapers and how to take care of them, etc. In the end we went for the cheapest method. Prefolds and velcro PUL covers. We love them.
There was a brief shining moment when I thought that I could sew my own diapers and get fitted diapers for even less money, but then I realized that I'm pretty much a crappy seamstress. I may still do this, but I need some velcro and good elastic first. When I get around to that, this is the website I'm gonna use. I've got the old T-shirts etc already picked out...
There was also a brief shining moment when I thought I was going to knit wool soakers for the twins for all the time use and maybe even knit some to sell out of my recycled yarn. I got 2 pairs of pants done and then stalled out during the embellishing phase. I need to go pull those out and see if they will still fit the boys...
Hotcouponworld - I found Hotcouponworld through the forums on Diaperswappers. Since last spring I have become a coupon queen. It amazes me. I've managed to cut our grocery budget down to $60 a week (with occasional extra stock up money for the whole month) just by learning the complicated system of couponing and just generally paying attention to what I was doing. For a while there, I was organizing and trading coupons, obsessing about deals and getting free shampoo. In December I must have thought that I finally had the whole thing down enough have been in a holding pattern. I still watch the sales, and will scan the deals listed on Hotcouponworld, but I no longer visit 5 times a day. My coupons are generally in disaray and I've decided I simply DO NOT have time to trade. This decline in the coupon obsession was mostly because I felt that I was spending too much time on coupons and while it was saving us lots of money, I wasn't spending nearly enough time on my business and I was not making the amount I needed to fill my share of the budget. Which brings us to my current obsession...
Etsy - I had a customer on Ebay ask me why I didn't sell on Etsy. Really it came down to the fact that I didn't think that I could be profitable if I had to renew all the time in order to stay at the top of the searches, and that I was just plain scared to set my own price. I was comfortable and safe setting a minimum price on Ebay and letting the buyer determine the price. I didn't have to worry about the fact that I might be charging too much and no one would buy, or that I would be charging too little and not get what it was worth. Well, in the end, I really was charging too little and there was no way with the amount of time I have available that I could make what I needed. My production was obviously cut way down with the birth of the twins, and more and more sweaters were selling for the minimum price. Add to that the ever rising fees on Ebay and I took the plunge. I opened a shop on Etsy.
I started reading the forums there. I learned about taking good pictures, about promoting, about branding. Suddenly a whole new world was opened up. I have resisted standardizing my skein sizes because I wanted the buyer to get as long of a piece of unbroken yarn as possible, but this made setting a standard price very difficult. So, I bit the bullet and am standardizing the skein sizes and picking a price. I worked hard on creating beautiful, clear photographs worthy to be on Etsy. I expanded my stitch marker product line and added a new signature stitch marker style that I am working on promoting and branding. I am quite obsessed with the shape. It's called the Infinity Ring.
I can't seem to keep myself from staring at it. I love the simplicity of it, the elegance. I keep searching through beads and wondering how they will look in that shape. I want to make jewelry with it. I need more. Unfortunately I have restricted myself on the bead spending at the moment and so I have temperarily moved on to something else.
In the forums on Etsy, someone told me that my previous banner and logo looked like I had created them in Microsoft Paint, and that I could improve on them to make my shop more professional. Now, I have had Shawn as my logo almost since the beginning. I loved him. I thought he was perfect. This person obviously didn't know what they were talking about. Sure she was an actual professional graphics designer, but what did she know... Well, since I couldn't buy more beads, I pulled out some paper and a pen and began doodling Shawn. I drew dozens of sheep that first night. After a brief fight with the scanner that resulted in me totally reinstalling it, I had a new banner, a new avatar, and a whole new world of items to add to my shop.
Now in addition to the billions of possiblities for stitch markers I have running through my head, I have a whole line of Shawn and Fiber Friends notecards and Aceos, etc in the planning stages. I love them. They make me happy on a deep level that up until now only Extra Fine Merino ever has. I want to make more...
But now I have to go back to the store and retrieve my coupon notebook that also has all of my Dave Ramsey envelopes in it that I accidentally left at the checkout counter last night... I don't think the obsessions are helping my attention span here.