Carpal Tunnel Surgery

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I have some good news and I have some bad news. Which do you want to hear first? Oh, this is a blog, so you can’t respond. Ok so I will give you the bad news first lol.

The Bad News: My carpal tunnel is getting worse. I’m in pain daily. The numbness is annoying because it’s all the time, and my left hand ring finger is permanently numb and sometimes it hurts really bad. In fact it hurts right now.

The Good News: I talked to my doctor the other day and she asked me if I was ready to have the surgery and I said yes, absolutely. So she faxed a referral to a carpal tunnel surgery clinic here in Bakersfield and they called me to make an appointment for September, which I assume is just a consultation.

So here is more bad news and good news.

The bad news is I will not be able to make any custom items for awhile. I have a current custom order for October for friendship bracelets and after I finish making those, I can’t do any more until the surgery.

The good news is my Etsy shop will still be there to buy anything that I have that is already made and packaged. So head on over to GayNerd.Etsy.com and see what you like and don’t forget to use the coupon GAYNERD for 10% off your order. I still have plenty of items available.

I probably won’t be able to go back to making bracelets or keychains for several months after the surgery. I don’t think the surgery will happen in September, I won’t know when it will happen until I go to my first appointment, but I expect I will be back to normal some time next year.

So I want to thank everyone who has ordered from my Etsy shop in the past and I do look forward to making more creations in the future.

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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.

I sold my first keychain on Etsy

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rainbow dna

I have been having a blast making these rainbow DNA keychains. I spent a lot of money on the materials, and I spend a couple of hours making just one keychain, not because I feel that I have to, but because it’s fun. I decided that I should probably sell them on Etsy because if I don’t, I’m going to have the biggest keychain collection of all time if I didn’t get rid of them lol.

I wasn’t sure what I should charge for them, so I browsed other people’s lanyard keychains and finally came up with $4 for the keychain and $1 for shipping, but after I shipped the first order out today, I ended up with less than $2. The reason being, the padded envelopes were $1.50 and the shipping was $1.67. That brings my profit down to $1.83. So I’m not actually getting $4 for the keychains. I decided that I’m going to keep them at $4, but just raise the shipping to $3.50 just because I want to use those profits to buy more material to make more keychains.

Of course I don’t know if anyone else will buy a keychain or if this one sale was my first and last, but I don’t care because I don’t want to stop making them. It’s too much fun for me.

I am currently still working on the rainbow keychains, I made 3 yesterday and I still have enough material to make 12 more. After that, I’m going to buy some white and blue and more of the clear so that I can make some patriotic ones. I already have a big roll of the red. July is coming and people love to be patriotic, so I figure they will probably buy the patriotic ones. Of course that’s a crap shoot, but it’s still going to be fun to make even if nobody buys them.

Who knows how long I will be able to continue making them before my hands just give up on me. After all, I do have carpel tunnel syndrome. I think that’s why I would like to get more money for them, not just the time that it takes to make them, but also for the pain that it will eventually cause me.

I would also like to make some trans colors and some bear colors. I think someone out there would like to have one of those. Of course if I have the materials, I would take requests for specific colors. I don’t just know the DNA pattern, I just love that one compared to any other I’ve seen. I hope other people do too. 🙂