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.

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.

New professional bag sealer for Etsy

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I’ve had my Etsy shop since 2013 when I broke my arm. It’s funny to say that because I had a broken arm and I decided I wanted to start making keychains which required both hands. But I was able to make them with very little pain. I made so many keychains that people told me I should open an Etsy shop, so I did.

I only started packaging them a couple years ago, before that I just had everything in a drawer. I decided it would be easier to find things if I had them packaged in plastic bags with folded business card sized card stock hung up on the side of my desk. I had some plastic bags meant for loaves of bread which I bought specifically for my bread machine, and I bought a battery powered bag sealer which not only sealed the bags, but also cut them to size, so that’s how I discovered I could make my own bags. But, that plastic was too thin and could tear too easily, so that’s why I bought the bag sealer and roll of poly tubing plastic roll in the image above.

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So as you can see I have organized everything that is hanging on the side of my desk. Keychains, paracord bracelets, stud earrings, beaded bracelets, friendship bracelets and kumihimo bracelets, then beaded rings and knitting supplies. All the hanging earrings and packages of 8 pairs of stud earrings are all boxed up in a drawer and I currently have 1 beaded bracelet in a box on top of my desk above these hanging items. I don’t quite have enough craft items to actually open up a shop, that’s why I have an Etsy shop.

I probably don’t get enough orders to warrant a bag sealer and a professional roll of poly tubing plastic, but if I do get a sale, I at least want them to look and feel professional.

Everything is handmade and hypoallergenic, and it took a long time to make this stuff. I only buy quality ingredients like DMC and Loops and Threads embroidery floss, Pepperell plastic lanyard and paracord. I buy hypoallergenic earring hooks and plastic earring stems and rubber ear nuts from Etsy. I have very sensitive ears, I’m allergic to basically everything and I wore earring hooks and the plastic stems each for 48 hours to make sure they were hypoallergenic, because if they don’t work with my sensitive skin, they probably won’t work for yours. I wouldn’t sell something that will harm someone.

So please visit GayNerd.Etsy.com and help me make my credit card payments lol.

New Etsy Shop Products Coming

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baseball cap

I have some news about my Etsy shop that I thought I would share. I haven’t started producing any new products, but new products are in the works. You see, I have learned a new skill and I will be learning another new skill that I will be using to make some new products. Believe it or not, one product requires 2 different crafting skills.

Ok, so here is the product, I won’t beat around the bush. I’m terrible at keeping secrets lol. I mean, I put an image above. Can’t you see that?

Baseball caps, or hats, with embroidery on the front. I know it’s not a new concept, but it’s not going to be anything you can buy in stores because it will be unique with cloth that I find at a craft store like Beverly’s here in Bakersfield, or Joann. I will also have embroidery designs that go with the fabric, so it’s not like it’s going to be like you can choose this fabric with this embroidery design. I could promise that, but I honestly don’t know how long it would take for a custom hat, so for now it will only be what I decide to make to list.

I will make 1 hat to see if anyone is interested. I will buy a hat from a thrift store so I can deconstruct it so I can trace the pattern of the hat onto plastic sheets so I will have a template, then I will remove the plastic brim and I will use that plastic brim for the first hat. I’m not going to use cardboard brims because then you might as well call it a disposable hat. I will have to find a inexpensive merchant to buy the plastic brims from. I found some on Etsy, but they aren’t cheap, and that would drive up the price of the hat. I don’t want to have to charge a lot of money for these hats, so I will keep looking for good quality plastic brims from a provider in the US so I don’t have to wait a month for it to come from China.

Anyway, tell me how that sounds to you and how much you would be willing to pay for a handmade baseball type of cap with embroidery either in the front or all around the hat/cap. I’m thinking $15 to $20, of course that all depends on how much money I have to spend on materials. I’m guessing the materials will be cheap, but I don’t know that for sure. I know Beverly’s has some inexpensive fabric, but what if I hate all that they have and have to buy the regular priced fabric.

Well, I will find out when I start buying materials soon. So keep an eye out because if and when I make a test hat, I will blog about it. I will also probably vlog about it and put it on my YouTube channel as well, so stay tuned.

The Jig Is Up!

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Paracord Bracelet Jig

My Etsy shop is expanding to include Paracord products. I finally bought a Paracord Bracelet Jig and it arrived today. I’ve made the cobra and fish tail bracelets and chokers with hemp, and I’ve made lanyards with the plastic lacing, but I think paracord is so much better.

Before I got the new Paracord jig, I bought some pink and black paracord because my partner promised a pink and black ID lanyard to someone last year when he was in the hospital. He told me, but I really hated making the ID lanyards with the plastic lacing unless I was being paid to make them. The plastic lacing lanyards take about 2 hours to make, and they cause numbness and pain in both my hands. It’s not a pleasant experience, so I avoid making them at all costs. Making this paracord ID lanyard was so much faster and easier, although my hands did go numb and I had to shake it off, shake it off. Sorry, Taylor Swift got a hold of my keyboard. I was just making it without trying to make it perfect, so it got a bit twisted up. She’s getting it free, but if someone pays for one, obviously I will make it straight.

I used the remaining pink and black to make a cobra bracelet, which I gave to our tenants daughter. I also made a tan fish tail bracelet for myself, and I love it. I also made a trilobite bracelet, but I made it smaller than I can wear just because I wanted to make it for the picture. I kind of wish I made it bigger though, because I really love it. I hate the color, but I love the pattern, so I will make one for myself eventually.

What I really love about the paracord bracelets is that you can put them on and take them off to match your style or mood. I also love that there are so many patterns, so I literally will have many options to choose from on my Etsy shop. Of course I will have to make them, then give the option of size and color.

I hope the paracord bracelets, keychains, ID Lanyard and eGo e-cigarette lanyards will sell more than my other products, which don’t seem to be moving as much as they used to. Then again, perhaps paracord products will give my other products more visibility, I hope so.

Why did it take me so long to make paracord products? It’s expensive, and I didn’t want to pay for a bunch of colors with no sales. I don’t just buy a few feet at a time, I buy spools so I don’t have to keep going to the craft store. Unfortunately, until I know I will be successful, I will have to buy packs of 10-20 colors with 10 feet of each color. If someone requests another color, I will have to go to the craft store. I’d rather be safe than sorry since I have tons of the plastic lacing, and no sales.

Last year before Christmas I said I was closing my Etsy shop due to lack of interest, but I just put it in vacation mode for a couple of months. I figured I’d keep the shop just in case I really needed the money, and when I was eating Top Ramen for lunch and dinner, I had the Etsy shop so I could beg people to buy stuff so I could eat real food lol. I’m not eating Top Ramen now, but I’m almost there.

Hoop Earrings

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Tie Dye Hoop Earrings

I am constantly learning new techniques to my craft and creating cool new things to sell in my Etsy shop.

These are my hoop earrings. This was what I originally had in mind last year when I started making hoop earrings. Although, I had to make them in the same pattern that I make the hemp bracelets with because the lanyard pattern confused me. I learned how to do the pattern, I just didn’t “get it” as much as I would have liked. You have to really understand a pattern to “get it”, you know?

I made quite a few ID badge lanyards and eGo e-cigarette lanyards and was thinking, I wonder if I can make these into a hoop, so I tried it and it worked. Ok, I can make it into a hoop, but how do I connect it? I used jump rings, but they really looked bad. It took me a bit longer to think about it, and I had my epiphany and figured out how to do it.

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This is what the hoop looks like up close. This was the prototype. You can’t see a seam, can you? I didn’t connect one side with the other with the help of a jump ring. I glued the lanyard on the sides so that I could cut it without it unraveling. When I cut it on both sides, I put glue on one end, then joined the 2 ends and held it in place until it was connected. Then I glued the outside to make sure it wouldn’t come apart. Although, I’m told that there is a glue that will literally melt the plastic, so that when you put the pieces together, the plastic will melt which will fuse the plastic together so it will never come apart. So that is the next thing I will look for. The Krazy Glue seems to hold it pretty good, but if a super glue will melt and fuse them, then that’s what I would much rather use.

The good thing about these is that I can make a matching pair of studs and include them with the hoops. Can you just imagine having a pair of hoops with matching studs and a matching lanyard? I think that would be awesome. The good thing about the tie dye is that it probably goes with everything.

I am working on 2 color lanyard hoop earrings because 1 single color is pretty boring. I’m working on black and orange for Halloween. I’m also working on football colors. Someone ordered a keychain and studs that were Royal Blue and Neon Green last year, so I’m going to do that with the hoops as well. I’m also working on red and white, red and green and green and white for Christmas colors.

Of course I do accept custom orders, so if you are ever on Etsy and you want a custom order, please feel free to do so. 99% of my orders are custom orders.

The Tie Dye hoop earrings with matching studs are $10 each. I have clear tie dye, red tie dye, green tie dye and blue tie dye. If you want all 4, I’ve offered a buy 3 and get 1 for free discount, so it’s just $30. I think that is a good deal.

My WriteItNow 4 Plan

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I have planned on buying this software called WriteItNow 4 on Amazon for $69.95 along with 2 books. One of the books was called Making The Most of WriteItNow 4 but the Demo of the program seems to be self explanatory, and I really can’t afford to spend $15 on a book with only 112 pages. I would much rather spend that money on books that will help me learn to write fiction instead.

One of the books I was going to buy from Amazon for $9.85 is called Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish, but I found that on the Nook store for $10.49. It’s a bit more expensive, but I will get it instantly and not have to pay a shipping fee, so I don’t mind paying an extra .64 cents.

I found some other books that are also available on the Nook store that I will find useful. They are in the Write Great Fiction Series. I won’t be able to buy them all at once, but I will be able to buy them gradually. I can’t afford to go to school for this, but I can afford to buy a few books that will probably teach me everything I need to know in my own time. I am basically home schooling myself lol.

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I have saved up $32.84 in my PayPal account with a $20 transfer in progress from my Etsy sales. I have an automatic $20 transfer every month which will bring my balance up to $72.84 which will be more than enough to buy the WriteItNow 4 software which is $69.95 with free shipping and no taxes. I was expecting to spend $100 with the 2 books so I’m going to focus that money on these Nook ebooks.

For now, I started reading Writing Fiction for Dummies which I bought a few years ago to help me learn to write, but I never got past Chapter 1 because it was too frustrating to keep reading about publishing. I don’t care about publishing because I am a self publisher, I just want to learn to write a book. I wrote my memoir without this book, but I need help to write fiction so I started reading it again today and Chapter 2 has actually started helping me. I’ve already made 22 highlights and written 2 notes. I’m going to continue reading that to teach me all that it can teach me before I buy the other 5 books.

I have waited so many years for this and it’s finally going to happen and I can’t be more excited. My dreams are finally coming true. I don’t expect to be popular or to have the best novel in the world, I don’t even expect anyone to buy or even like my books. All I want is the chance to write them to make my childhood dreams come true. Once I do that, then I will be happy.