Backdrop for my YouTube videos

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I bought something from Amazon that I thought would help me with my YouTube videos.

I make box cards for my Etsy shop, and last year I made a few videos showing what the box cards looked like and someone suggested instead of showing the box cards, show how I make them. So I started making box card assembly videos for YouTube.

This year I made a couple assembly videos that showed me making the box cards from start to finish and they’re about 30 to 45 minutes or longer. I’m not sure who wants to see these, but, I’m doing it and I figured for the part of the video where I’m going to be on camera, I thought it would be easier to show me with a backdrop rather than show me with my bedroom wall with a window above the bed where the mini blinds don’t go all the way down and you end up having to see my bed and my bedside tables.

So I bought a Neewer Photo Studio Backdrop Support System from Amazon. It had a 25% coupon attached to it and I also bought the Halloween backdrop that you see at the top of this post and it’s coming this weekend.

My bedroom is pretty much crammed with a lot of boxes from my Etsy shop. So I really don’t have much room to add a backdrop support system to film in front of, so I’m going to take these things to the patio and do it out there. There’s a lot more space out there and I can do the videos when the sun is out and of course use my ring light tripod that my phone sits on. The backdrop support system is 10 ft wide by 7 ft high.

The backdrop that you see at the top of this post is only 7 ft wide by 5 ft high, so I definitely will have to sit on a chair, which is what I was planning on doing anyway.

I will be getting another backdrop for Thanksgiving for my Thanksgiving box cards and another one for Christmas for my Christmas box cards and then I’m going to get one that has like a rainbow pattern for when I just do regular videos or other box card patterns like birthday box cards or whatever.

So, I can’t wait to get the backdrop support system and the backdrops and see how filming looks with that behind me and see how it all works out. I will most likely leave the support system up all the time in the patio because I don’t really want to set it up every time I use it and then take it down when I’m finished. I will remove the backdrop though so it doesn’t get dusty out there. Other than that, I don’t think it will hurt anything to keep it up out in the patio which is our covered patio. We’ll see how it goes.

Edit: The support system came this morning and I can use it in my bedroom. I was thinking that sometimes it’s loud outside and I’d rather do it in my bedroom if I can. I opened one side to see if it’ll go on the right side of my bed and it fits between the wall and the bed. I can just put it on the sides of my bed and sit on the edge of the foot of my bed. I think that would be easier. And I can leave the one side there all the time and just bring out the other side when I need to make a video.

Buttons for Etsy Part 2

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In my previous post Buttons for Etsy I talked about how I’m taking a huge gamble with buying a button machine that I can use to make buttons for my Etsy site.

The first thing that I made were some LGBT+ buttons. I just figured that a gay Etsy shop would start out with an LGBT+ theme. A few people saw the listing, but nobody really cared lol. I went to a website called designbundles.net and they have many different designers that sell button images. And of course every purchase of their images comes with a premium license to sell anything that I physically make and physically ship out to customers.

My only complaint is that they’re selling these images in pages that you can print out in jpg format. Meaning, a sheet of 8.5 x 11 of circles of graphics. So there’s a sheet that has 1.25 inch circles or 1 inch circles and then they get smaller and smaller. The problem with that is that I can’t just print out the sheet and then cut out the 1 inch circles. For 1 inch buttons, I need the actual circle to be 1.38 inches. So in order for me to make this work, I had to go into my Photoshop program, and I use gimp, and I had to remove the white background from the 8.5 x 11 image and copy and paste every circle image to a new file so that I can put that 1-in circle over a circle that is 1.38 inches. Then of course I had to rearrange all of the circles onto a 8.5 x 11 image so that I can print the new sheets. And the same goes for the 1.25 inch images for the 1.25 inch buttons.

This whole process takes a very long time and a lot of patience. But once I have it all laid out in Gimp, then I can print the sheets out as many times as I want and make as many buttons as I want. And I’ve even sold a few buttons on Etsy.

A friend of mine and his husband owns a shop in Bakersfield where I live and they wanted to carry the Halloween buttons that you see in the image at the top so that they can sell to their customers. Well, when I delivered the first set of buttons to show them how they look, I also made them buttons with their logo and the next day when I brought them more Halloween buttons, they said that they wanted 1,000 buttons with their shop logo. Not the 1 or 1.25 inch buttons, they wanted the 2.25 inch buttons.

That takes a lot of effort to pull off. First I had to buy a thousand buttons from Amazon which was quite a bit of money. And of course 27lb presentation paper, then I have to print out over a hundred sheets of their logo and then cut a thousand circles of their logo with the circle cutter that came with the button machine. That right there alone was back breaking. And then every box of buttons that I bought came with extra mylar sheets, those plastic things that go on top of the image, the plastic pinbacks had a lot extra, but, they did not include the exact amount of the metal discs for each button. So I ended up being short about so far 50 metal discs out of 1000. So I had to use the metal discs that came with the machine to make up the difference.

I had a lot of mistakes happen where the metal discs did not crimp properly onto the plastic pinbacks. So I ended up losing a lot of metal discs because of that issue. I figured it was probably because I just wasn’t using enough pressure, and that was the case for a lot of the buttons that I lost, but even using a lot of pressure to push that lever down onto the button to clamp it onto the plastic pin back and then crimp the button, that sometimes still isn’t enough and the button comes apart. I had to test by pulling the buttons apart to make sure that they wouldn’t come apart before I packed them up. It should not be this way. It should be so much easier, but who said life was easy?

So, even though it is kind of a pain in the butt to make buttons, it is kind of fun. And of course I’m very sore after making 800 buttons so far. My back is killing me from having to cut the circles (because I had to stand over the page to line up the circle cutter) and my arm is killing me from having to pull the lever down like a beast for every button. Plus my brain hurts from all of the mistakes that I made and I was so ready to just throw in the towel and send everything back to Amazon. I was just so tired of putting in so much effort and getting very little in return. But I continued because I had already paid for all of these materials and they really want their buttons, and I want to deliver a promise that I made to make their buttons for them.

But after this, no more bulk orders like that. This machine that I bought was not made for industrial use, nor was my body. After this I’m just going to continue making little buttons for Etsy.

Buttons for Etsy

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I have taken a huge gamble on my Etsy shop recently but purchasing a button maker that makes 1-inch, 1.25 inch and 2.25 inch buttons.

I bought a pack of 300 1-inch buttons because I thought those were the typical little buttons that you would see in a shop. I have a pair of suspenders with some buttons on it that I tore my whole closet apart yesterday looking for only to find out that the smaller button is 1.25 inches. So, I bought a pack of 300 1.25 inch buttons.

Then I also bought 8 packs of button images that I can print to make buttons for my Etsy shop. The buttons are not what you would typically see when you’re shopping for buttons, but they are pretty interesting looking buttons anyway. I bought some for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and then there are just a whole bunch of other random buttons. One of them is Vintage horror comics, another has steampunk gears and then other steampunk images, then tree of life and tree silhouette.

To be quite honest, I’m not really sure I’m going to make any money off of this. But, I’ve wanted to make buttons for a long time and I can use these on my box cards. It will add a little bit of flair to the box cards that someone can remove and put on their jacket or backpack or whatever. Just something a little bit extra for the people who want to buy a box card for someone.

Most of these image packs have 24 images, so I can sell them in 4 packs of six buttons. There are some that have less and I will have to sell in packs of five buttons. So far I’ve only bought button packs with 24 button images.

This whole project has cost me a lot of money. I don’t advertise my products that often, but I will definitely advertise these buttons a lot just to help me pay for everything. Once everything has been paid for, then I can relax.

I would like to design some LGBT buttons and I’ve already designed a button to advertise my Etsy shop which will be a gift for every order from now on. Every box card will have a button attached to it and every Paracord bracelet will have a button in the box. Maybe if people get a free buttons with their order, they’ll want to buy more buttons either for themselves or for their friends. We will see.

My niece found and then lost me

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I have waited a long time to share this story because I didn’t want to write it with the emotions I was feeling at the time. I wanted to be at peace before taking about it so my emotions won’t dictate how I write it.

So on May 21st 2022 my niece, my older sister’s daughter, contacted me on Facebook. She told me that she had been searching for me for 2 years and she was starting to think I was dead. No one would tell her anything because in my personal opinion, they didn’t want her to find me. My parents did the same thing to my grandparents and my aunts. They didn’t want those people to be in my life because I think they knew I would tell them everything that my family had done to me in my life. So I feel like my sister’s didn’t want me to tell my niece anything.

My niece called me the first night when she found me and we had a long conversation. Then we basically just texted each other and never spoke on the phone again.

The day before my birthday I got a message from my sister on Facebook messenger. See my previous blog post. I know it was stupid of me to message my niece, and I own my stupidity. I texted her and asked her if her mother told her she didn’t know where to find me and she said yes and I sent her a screenshot of her mother saying happy birthday to me and I said for someone who doesn’t know how to find me, she sure does know where I am. I then said that my oldest sister sends me a happy birthday every year, but my younger sister hasn’t. She said well she’s has her reasons, to which I said I know the reason and I’ll tell you. She did not like that response.

When I said I’ll tell you, she thought I was going to bash my younger sister, but that was hardly my intention. You see, I loaned my stepdad money in 1999 and he promised to pay it back several times and after refusing to pay it back, I threatened to take him to small claims court. So I am the reason she is mad at me. But I didn’t get a chance to say that.

She responded to me that I don’t talk shit within the family blah blah blah and I don’t want you in my family anymore. I sent her 3 messages saying no I’m not talking negatively about anyone, I’m the reason she is mad at me and then a week passed and she said, and I quote…

I don’t take words like that lightly. I would never say that to anyone no matter how much they pissed me off or how upset I am with them. And I did not think that I said anything wrong because I didn’t actually say anything about my sister. I blocked her immediately because those words are unacceptable and unforgivable. I take responsibility for starting it, but I don’t think that I did anything wrong.

Fast forward one month and she sends me another text message from another phone number and she spoke to me like nothing happened and she said this is her new phone number. You don’t come back to me a month later acting like nothing happened, like you didn’t say what you said to me. So of course I blocked that new phone number.

My mental health is the most important thing for me, as it should be because I have had a lifetime of heartache and abuse from my family. No one deserves to be spoken to like that. No matter how upset I am with any family member, I would never say that. And you cannot take that back, and you don’t get to pretend you didn’t say that and act like everything is ok. Nothing is ok. So, I’m done with her too.

And now that this is said and done, I’ll need some sage and meditation to get rid of this negative energy.

I am so done with my sister

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When I published my book in 2012, my older sister unfriended me on Facebook and cut ties with me, which I knew would happen. I hadn’t heard from her until my 50th birthday in 2020 when I noticed she had messaged me on my old Facebook account. I missed her happy birthday in 2019, but saw the one in 2020. I don’t know what made her message me. I would message her from that for the holidays and her birthday and she wished me a happy birthday this year on my birthday.

Every time I talk with her on Facebook messenger, I try to build a bridge. I tell her I love her and our younger sister and that I’m sorry about how things happened and I’m sorry about my book etc. And every time, she lights a match to burn that bridge before I have a chance to build the frame.

My sister makes me think she is right about everything and I don’t have all the right details. She made me doubt myself and took away my confidence our whole lives. But this time she said something to me that is so unforgivable and also she has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. She doesn’t know every detail about everything she wasn’t there to witness. And she told me I pulled things out of the air to write about in my book. This makes me wonder if she’s referring to things she doesn’t know about.

The unforgivable thing she told me was that my mom died because of me. My mom willed herself to die of a heart attack in her sleep because she didn’t want me to die from AIDS before she died because she didn’t want to bury her child. Here is what happened.

In 1991, I was diagnosed with HIV. I had asymptomatic HIV. For those who don’t know what that means, it means I had HIV, but no symptoms that would make me sick. I had no symptoms of AIDS. I made the mistake of telling my sister and I specifically told her “don’t tell mom”. Or anyone for that matter because that is something I need to tell people. It’s not for you to tell anyone. She didn’t waste any time telling our mother, and she told our mother I had AIDS.

My sister doesn’t know, and had absolutely no reason to know, but I talked to my mom every day before she died. She knew my HIV status, she knew everything that I knew because every time I went to the doctor, I told my mother what the doctor said about my health. My mom knew I didn’t have AIDS and she knew I would be healthy for a very long time. My sister didn’t know anything because I stopped trusting her when she told my mom something I asked her not to tell. I said that I didn’t actually have an AIDS diagnosis until a year after our mother died, and she said “that’s not how I remember it, but I won’t rehash that.” You won’t rehash what? Facts that you didn’t even know because you weren’t there?

My mother didn’t “will” herself to die at age 42. She died from a heart attack in her sleep. My mother was overweight like I am. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea at age 34 and they told me it’s genetic and that I could literally die from a heart attack in my sleep if I don’t have sleep therapy. So that tells me right there that my mother died from a heart attack in her sleep because she most likely had sleep apnea and didn’t know.

After this conversation with my sister, I can’t explain it, but I feel somewhat vindicated. My sister can pretend to know more than me, but I was there and she wasn’t. Things that happened to me happened TO ME and I remember them. She told me that I don’t remember things because I had seizures as a child. That doesn’t make me lose my memories lol.

Anyway, I downloaded all my messages from Facebook so I have a record of the things she has said to me, and I set that Facebook account for deletion. Deleting that old account where she messages me is a symbol of deleting her from my life effective immediately. I am so done with her. I feel free. I am free.

Domain Registry Jersey City, NJ Scam

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This may appear to be your standard Domain registry form to renew your domain, but looks can be deceiving. This is a scam. You can send your payment to them, but your domain won’t be registered.

I have been getting these for years to renew my domains, and I usually always throw them in the trash because I have no use for them, but, I thought it was time I actually looked this up on the internet to find out what the deal is, and that’s when I found this website which says it’s a scam.

Here’s the thing. My web host automatically renews my domain every year and they charge me $12.99. This company wants to charge me $50 for one year, which means, well I was going to subtract the amount they would profit, but considering they wouldn’t actually renew my domain, they would profit 100% of that $50 and I would be $50 short because I would still end up paying $13 for my domain renewal. They are also offering to charge me the same price for a .org and .net, but I don’t want those because my book is not an organization and I don’t need .net for the same reason, it’s not a network. I only need .com. So basically I’m saying if you ever go to my website with .org or .net, that’s fake, the .com is the domain I registered my website under when I published my book Diary of a Gay Nerd on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in 2012.

So, if you have a domain, just let your host automatically renew it. Don’t be fooled by these notices because they are just trying to confuse people and make you feel pressured to send them money.

Illegally gay

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Someone sent me a heartbreaking direct message on the Facebook page for my book Diary of a Gay Nerd telling me they want me to let the world know the situation about LGBT people in the world.

“I am Ibrahim from sudan I LGBTI now iam refugee in kakumama camp in kenya I have 17 year old we live here bad life”

“I want u to tell the world about the situation here”

“Me I don’t want death here please help us It will be so good to tell unhcr about that please”

My response as always is that I am heartbroken over the situation for LGBTI people in the world. I told him that trust me, the world knows the situation. The world is watching. Here was my response.

Believe me, the world knows. I’ve shared several articles in the past to show how gay people in the middle East are being thrown off buildings and hung from ropes and stoned to death.
My voice is only heard by maybe 0.001% of the world.

I will share your story, and please know that I think about people who are being murdered every day just because of their sexuality. It makes me sad to know that this is happening.

It is unfortunately still illegal in most of the world to be gay. There are very few countries you can live where you have rights, I include the United States since there are still around 30 or more states where you can be fired or kicked out of your apartment if your boss or landlord discover you are gay. I myself was homeless for 10 months after I came out of the closet to my mother, and since I didn’t finish high school, being homeless didn’t end there. There have been 26 deaths in 2018 and 19 in 2019 of people who identify as transgender. It’s not safe to be LGBT anywhere in the world.

Here is a article I found from Outlife.org.uk that have a list of the penalties for being gay in the world. The list starts with life in prison, then 20 years, going down to 1 year, and then the penalties of being whipped or death penalty.

I feel completely helpless because there isn’t anything I can do about it. I am just a single ant in a gigantic ant farm. I’m not here to preach to anyone. I just want to let people know that this stuff is happening. I’m just here to open your eyes.

I’m sorry for what you are going through, and just know that I wish there was something I could do to help. All I can do is hope that one day people around the world can live peacefully without worry of being put in prison or murdered for their sexuality. Being gay is not a bad thing. We’re just trying to live our lives the same as everyone else. Stop murdering us.

Pride Paracord Bracelets

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I’ve been working on the packaging for my Etsy shop, and I really love these boxes. I made some pink boxes for the Breast Cancer Awareness paracord bracelets, and now I’ve made some boxes with rainbows and unicorns for the Pride paracord bracelets.

The cardstock that I bought is thick enough that it passes as a box, but I’m afraid that if I mail them to someone, they will be crushed by either human or machine, so I’ve put a rolled up piece of bubble wrap in the box in the middle of the bracelet, which means the lid doesn’t stay on, so I decided to wrap a sleeve around the box.

The bracelets are $9.95 each, shipping included. I have not raised the price for the box. I’ve even offered a discount coupon which is NERDY at checkout. Just measure your wrist with a cloth measuring tape, or use a string and hold that up to a ruler and make sure you aren’t measuring it too tight. There is a link to a video in the listing that shows how to measure your wrist. Yes, it was needed since someone bought a bracelet after measuring a bracelet they already owned instead of their wrist. The sizes are 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2 and 8 inches. Click the images to go to the listing.

New Packing for my Etsy Shop

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So I have had my Cricut Explore Air 2 for a couple of months now, and I’ve been learning not only how to create things that I can sell in my Etsy shop, but also to create packaging for my existing products.

My Etsy shop has lots of different things like stud and dangle earrings, bracelets that are paracord as well as Kumihimo and the regular flat friendship bracelets. Some things are better in boxes than in plastic bags with a card stapled to the top. The Kumihimo and flat friendship bracelets are OK in the bag, but not paracord.

I’ve also made a new box for the sets of 4 pairs of earrings. This is what they looked like before (left), compared to how they look now (right).

The reason I wanted to change these boxes was because it is easier for me if the Cricut scores and cuts the box in a colored thicker card stock paper that I can use as a visual so I can see what color the earrings are in the box. Like the red for example will be for this listing that has 4 pairs of earrings that are all red, but in a variety like one is solid red, another is red and white, another red and black and another that is red and gold. The same goes for the orange, yellow, green, blue and so on. I also have some neon earrings that will most likely be in a single neon color. Then of course I have my tie dye stud earrings which I would like to put in a box that has tie dye for the pattern of the paper, but if I can’t find that paper, I will figure something else out.

The earrings will actually come in the box on 2 cards rather than all 4 on one card. I did that for the picture for the listing. They will also be wrapped in bubble wrap inside the box to protect them if the package gets squished in transit.

Yes, I am selling a product, but the packaging is what I feel makes it look better when you receive it. And don’t worry, the prices haven’t changed.

Get nerdy with me and save 15% on your entire order with the coupon code NERDY. My shop’s website is GayNerd.Etsy.com. I hope you check it out today. I haven’t changed the packaging on everything, but I will be working on that.