Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Robin's Deep Dark Confessions: Total Lack of Observation

Jasmine Showers

I have both some good news and an embarrassing story to share with you. Which would you like to hear first? Oh, I know all of you. You're eager for me to humiliate myself for your amusement, aren't you? Well, fortunately I'm good at it. So here goes.

I've been trying for a long time to open an online shop on Etsy, a wonderful marketplace to sell handmade and vintage goods. I finally sat down a couple of weeks ago to do the deed. I had gathered enough of my handmade treasures to make a start and had even photographed them with the help of the lovely and gracious Felicia of Fluffy Flowers. (Who knew there was a macro button on my camera? Amazing!)

What I didn't count on was the fact that all of the shop names I had considered would already be taken. I was in my office mulling this over when I had a brainstorm for another shop name: Jasmine Showers. It sounds like springtime, bright and refreshing, just the sort of shop I'd like to browse in. Plus, since I dabble in a little bit of everything, it doesn't tie me down to any one type of item like beads or crocheting or whatever. Lastly, Jasmine Showers is a character in one of my novels, so this ties the "work of my hands" back in with my writing. Perfect!

I'm the type that may put something off for weeks or months, but when I'm ready, I'm ready. I had allotted time to set up my shop on a particular afternoon and by golly, I intended to do it. Trouble was, I needed a photo or logo for the shop banner. I had the perfect picture in mind: Jasmine blossoms with raindrops. But where to get it? I found some on the Web, but they were all copyrighted, or available for one-time use. I wanted to take my own pictures, so I could put them on business cards or bookmarks or t-shirts, whatever.

At this point, I need to make my confessions. First, I am the most ignorant person on the Earth when it comes to plants. Also dangerous. Any plant left in my care will die an untimely death. Sometimes this happens even when it's not in my care, just near me. When I worked at Delta Air Lines as a secretary, my bosses came up with the bright idea of putting a plant on my desk so people would see it and be cheered when they entered our otherwise soulless warehouse of cubicles and desks.

I warned them not to do it. I told them what happened to plants that got too close to me. They laughed. They pointed out that I wouldn't have to care for it. Someone with actual plant knowledge would do all that.

Within days it was drooping. Then dripping brown leaves. Visitors to our department started to look depressed.

So anyway, that's confession number one. I love the fantasy concept of flowers, but I'm not so good with the real thing.

Confession number two: my powers of observation are woefully inadequate. I once had a roommate who was gone to Florida for two days before I noticed she was missing. Actually, I never noticed. One of our friends pointed it out. (In my defense, she was sort of reclusive and kept her bedroom door closed a lot.)

Now we arrive at the Thursday afternoon when I was determined to set up my Etsy shop. I wanted to take pictures of jasmine blooms, so I decided to stop at Lowe's and see if they had any jasmine. It briefly occurred to me to wonder if we already had jasmine in our yard, but how would I know? (See confessions one and two.) My husband Dave is the gardener in the family, but he was out of town on business. Besides, I hear him talk about the gardening, and I vaguely remembered him mentioning things like roses, azaleas and camellias. And even in my ignorant state, I know when the gardenias are blooming by the smell. Wouldn't jasmine have a strong scent, too? Wouldn't I remember Dave mentioning jasmine?

No, I decided. We have no jasmine. So I paid a fairly big price for a bush at Lowe's that had two or three blooms on it, sprayed it with fake raindrops, and came up with a picture for my banner.

Then Dave got home. I pointed out the jasmine bush I had planted, and even showed off my new knowledge. "That's Confederate jasmine," I said. (I do know how to read a label.)

"I know," he answered. "It's all over the front porch and the back fence. I have to keep beating it back to keep it from taking over."

A few days later, it started to bloom. And here is just a small sample of what's in our yard.

Well...how was I supposed to know when it wasn't blooming yet? It was just leaves and...oh, never mind.
The good news is I have at least gotten my shop up and running, and I've made one sale! It's called Jasmine Showers as I'd hoped, and I'm pretty pleased with it.
I'd like to share the joy, so here's what I'm offering my wonderful blog readers. If you make a purchase from my shop between now and the end of May, you can take 30% off the most expensive item in your order. (Just mention the Dimensions blog in the "Message to Seller" at checkout. You can either go ahead and pay and I'll send you a refund, or tell me in the message that you'd like me to send a revised invoice before you pay.)
Tell anyone else you think might be interested. More than making money right now, I need to make some sales and get good feedback. Enjoy!


  1. That's awesome, Robin! I'm happy for you. Hopefully, now, many people will be able to enjoy your creations. And I love the name. That picture of the blooming jasmine actually looks like it is showering down. I will visit the site as soon as I can.

  2. Those are gorgeous photographs, Robin! Lovely.

    That is really funny about you buying a bush of it and then your husband telling you how he has to beat it back because it keeps trying to take over! But I'm like that, too. Kind of oblivious. You would think writers would be MORE observant ... okay, sorry, but like I said, I'm that way too!

    Good luck on your new venture! I'm going to check it out (even though I have no money!)

  3. Oooo, I really love that trellis yarn shawl! Beautiful!!! It would look really good with my black dress. If I were going to the conference this year ... but no, I shouldn't even think about it!