Semi-Weekly Blog 10/16/19: Doll Customizing, Etsy Shipping, and Inktobering!

Hello all!

It may be a few days late, but I am DETERMINED to get this blog out.

So, I’ve been…pretty darn busy. Even aside from a full time job, I’ve been trying to do Inktober 2019, customize and sew for dolls (you can see some of that work over at http://taylorjohnsondolls.com), and run my Etsy shop.

It’s a lot. Inktober involves a good amount of time each day, not just sketching and inking but also filming and editing videos of my work. I’m posting weekly updates on my Inktober progress, and while they’ve been going up on Wednesdays rather than the more calendar-appropriate Mondays or Tuesdays, at least they’re going up. I’m excited to be able to have records of my Inktober progress, in video form. Here’s week 1’s video:

Inktober is totally worth it, though, as usual.

Sewing and doll customizing is my main hobby right now, in terms of “activity that does not, and does not need to, result in income or some other goal”…it’s my one thing that is legitimately just for fun. I enjoy it so much. Sewing has been part of my life for ages, and…well, here’s the video of me telling my whole sewing story on my doll YouTube:

And as for my Etsy shop – well, I can’t give many details because I want my customers to be able to remain anonymous if they choose – but I’ve gotten to ship a lot of things lately, and I am truly, deeply appreciative of everyone who has been ordering things, especially my original Tarot deck, the Millennial Mystic Tarot.

MyCardsBack_512

Which, incidentally, you can order here, if you’re interested.

I think that’s all I have for now, and this is definitely all the time I had to write this blog. I’m sorry it’s late, but I’m glad to at least get a blog posted this week.

Thank you all for your support, and with that being said, I hope that you are having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon.

Bye!

-Taylor

Weekly Blog and Video Digest 7/22/19: Etsy Struggles – There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (Or Free Shipping)

Hey guys! It’s Monday again and that means that I, Taylor, am duty bound to update you on all the projects I’m working on, things I’m loving (or struggling with), and…that Etsy exposé I promised you. I know a lot of you are here for just that, so in the interest of not frustrating too many people, I’m going to just start with that exposé.

I’m not sharing this to “get back at” Etsy, nor am I doing it for the views. I’m sharing this information because I truly feel that when an online marketplace like Etsy changes something as drastically as they are doing now, and especially when that affects how honest I can be with my customers…well, that’s the time for shop owners to speak up and let you know what’s going on in the seller world.

For a long time, Etsy has allowed shop owners to choose whether to charge for shipping or offer free shipping. It’s always been true that humans like a free lunch, so people are more drawn to listings that ship for free – but Etsy has been pretty fair about treating sellers and listings equally and letting you, the shoppers, decide whether non-free shipping is a dealbreaker for you.

However, at this point, Etsy has decided that they’re going to REALLY pressure ALL of us to offer free shipping. They’ve been putting up notices all over saying how great this is going to be and how we should all offer free shipping. To incentivize it, they’ve been saying “Coming soon, listings and shops that offer free shipping will rank higher in search results!”

But what does this mean in the inverse? It really just means that if you DON’T offer free shipping, you’re going to take a hit – possibly a serious one – in the algorithm game. Search engine algorithms change all the time, but this could be a really big change, and a difficult one for some shops. It could also make it really difficult for people to find what they’re looking for – if the algorithm is skewed enough, instead of finding the item you actually want, you’ll be led to a bunch of semi-related items that SHIP FREE!!!! but aren’t what you were looking for.

Now, here’s the thing about free shipping: It’s like a free lunch – rarely actually free, and when it is free, it’s usually low quality or has strings attached. Free shipping is just the same.

See, being a seller – on Etsy or anywhere else – does not qualify you for some magical Free Shipping Account at the post office. Nobody pays for our shipping for us. WE are the ones who swipe a card or hand over cash for postage. Yes, large companies like Amazon have enough overhead that they can invest it back into their shipping costs, and offer Prime members free shipping.

But for most small sellers (and that means most sellers on Etsy), the only way to offer “Free Shipping” is to charge for it elsewhere. This usually means lumping the shipping cost back into the item list price. Etsy even has a “tool” on their website where it will AUTOMATICALLY do this for you, going through your whole shop and incorporating shipping costs into list prices, and then slapping a “FREE SHIPPING” sticker on everything.

Great, right?

Not so much.

Personally, when I shop, I like to know how much I’m spending on shipping. I don’t want everything to just say “Free Shipping” but have a weirdly high price. I also want to understand clearly how much of a discount on shipping I may get if I buy more than one item. I just value that kind of transparency.

But Etsy is pretty much disallowing any kind of transparency about shipping costs at this point. Not cool, Etsy.

I guess what bothers me the most is that I feel like I’m being forced to essentially lie to you about shipping. If they can make me say “free shipping,” they can make me say other things. And I don’t play those games. I like to be as open and honest as possible with my customers, and whether you’re someone who’s been following me since day 1 or whether you stumbled across a single item of mine on Etsy, I value your trust above all.

So please know this: I will always be as honest as I can be with you on Etsy, and if you ever have questions, I will be MORE than happy to answer them! Just contact me on Etsy, or here using the contact form on this site. Heck, DM me on Instagram if you want. Questions are always welcome.

But for the foreseeable future, I may have to be less than clear about my “free shipping” on Etsy. I did go ahead and change the shipping profiles to “Free,” but I plan to draft up a little disclaimer to go on each listing to explain the shipping situation.

And Etsy, if you’re reading this: Kick me off your platform if you want, but know that sellers like me will always show up to share the truth with our shoppers. You may silence me, but you will never silence those like me. Ideas are bulletproof and all that.

WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID: I’m going to stop ranting about Etsy now and move on to the video digest, a summary of all the videos I posted on my YouTube channel this week!

July 15, 2019: Mid-July Check-In Card Reading 

In this video I do a card reading with Tarot, oracle, and angel cards to get an idea of what kind of energies we can expect to face for the second half of July, 2019.

July 17, 2019: Millennial Mystic Tarot – FULL Flip & Compare with RWS

This video is a full, high-resolution flip through of the Millennial Mystic Tarot, my self-published, self-illustrated Tarot deck, with a RWS deck beside it for reference.

July 19, 2019: How Planners Changed My Life

This was a fun video to make, and it just sort of explores how planners and paper planning have changed my life (for the better!).

I don’t really have much else to report, and this post is already over 1000 words, so it’s high time I wrap it up. Thank you all for reading along, watching along, and being along on this crazy journey with me. And until next time, I hope that you are having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk you again very very soon.

Bye!

-Taylor

Weekly Blog and Video Digest 7/15/19: Weather, Ecological Consciousness Ramblings, and Etsy Shipping Issues

[Image caption: A photograph of a Tarot card, the Page of Wands, from the Millennial Mystic Tarot, depicting a young woman climbing through a desert in the Southwestern US heat. End caption.]

Hey all! It’s Taylor, with the weekly blog and video digest. I’m a day late but I hope you’ll forgive me. I’m going to chat here a bit about oracle cards, and then we’ll get on to a summary of (and embedded versions of) the videos I posted this week over on my YouTube channel.

The summer has been going well. It’s been kind of crazy hot…okay, totally crazy hot, here in Virginia, USA. And it’s only July – August is our crazy-hot month. Honestly, I am deeply concerned about this planet, and while my intuition tells me that things will get better for this world and this species, that same intuition also tells me that “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Not a good feeling, but that’s what I sense.

Still, I continue to put one foot in front of the other. I try to make decisions, both day-to-day and more long-term, that are good for the Earth. For example, I’m looking at buying my first car, and while I could buy something less expensive that is older, or I could buy something “hot”… I’m trying to focus on fuel-efficiency as being one of my main priorities. I may not be able to afford a Prius or other hybrid, but I AM looking for the very most fuel-efficient car I can manage, considering budget and other restrictions.

And about the car – it will have at least one positive effect on YOU all: For those of you who have been waiting 5-7 days for me to ship things…I should be able to ship things much, much faster once I start driving myself! Up until now I have been relying on buses to get me to the post office, but now that it’s so hot, I have to rely on friends (it’s too hot to walk even the short 1/2 mile between the bus stop and the postal office). And while my friends are awesome and very kindly help when they can, I usually only get to the post office once a week.

So, assuming I can get myself a car, I will soon be able to drop that shipping time estimate back down to 2-3 days, which is mostly processing time anyway. Hoping to get that set up soon, but until I, you know, purchase a car, please bear with me.

Also, one last thing…I really need to do a video or blog post or both about Etsy’s RIDICULOUSLY BAD new shipping policies. They are essentially forcing some of their own (deceptive, manipulative) ideas on already-struggling shop owners, just so that THEY can make more money – all while lying to our customers. It’s some BS, and I don’t think most Etsy shoppers are aware of it.

So I’m going to be, uh, doing a bit of an exposé soon. Sorry, Etsy, but if you’re going to be this bad, we – the shop owners, essentially your suppliers – ARE going to take it on ourselves to educate each other and our customers.

With that said, let’s get on to something a little more fun – this week’s videos!

7/8/19: Unboxing Goulet Pens Package | Fountain Pen Haul!

In this video I just unbox some fountain pens and fountain pen supplies, and walk you through what I got and why. Everything was ordered from GouletPens.com, a great fountain pen retailer.

7/10/19: Using Tarot and Oracle Cards for Story/Novel Development

I have wanted to make this video for QUITE some time!! I’ve used Tarot cards for storytelling for a long time, and I’ve found it incredibly helpful…so I definitely wanted to share some tips and techniques with you all. I know there are some writers out there in my follower-base so I hope that it was helpful for you!!

7/12/19: Summer 2019 Planner Lineup

So, this is some of the books and planners that I’ve ended up using for summer 2019. As of July, I HAVE moved into that Recollections spiral planner, and I LOVE IT…tour of THAT one coming in August.

That’s all the videos for this week. I hope you enjoyed them!

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to support this blog, the channel, and what I do, please head over to my Etsy shop and get yourself a little something – or, just subscribe to the blog, my YouTube, and my Instagram. I promise that Etsy Exposé is coming soon, so stay tuned for that.

And with that being said…I hope that you are having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very, very soon.

All the best,
-Taylor

Weekly Blog & Video Digest 7/8/19 | New Oracle Cards, New Etsy Listings, and New Videos!

[CC: An oracle card, the Goddess of the Moon card from the Energy Oracle, on top of a pile of scattered, face-down Energy Oracle cards. The moon in the card seems to glow in a supernatural way. END CC]

Hey guys! Taylor here. It’s time for the weekly blog here on taylorjohnson.art, where I check in every week and let you know what I’ve been up to and what’s new!

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[CC: the same image of the same card from the Energy Oracle. END CC]

The first thing I want to talk about is that I’ve invested in a few new decks. And by a few, I actually mean about 8 decks this summer. I know it sounds like a lot, and I don’t usually invest in so many at once…but I do enjoy working with them, and I’ll definitely use them. And, after years and years of pretty much being a Tarot purist, I think I am FINALLY ready to start learning about oracle cards. I could write the five new decks off as research for my upcoming oracle, the Sacred Storyteller Oracle, but honestly, it’s not just research. I bought them to use them, and to advance my understanding of oracle cards. Oracle cards are not something I’ve always been super positive about, and I want to change that. They help many people, and recently I’ve just felt inspired to open up and try them.

So. Yeah. New oracle card decks coming soon – Wisdom of the Oracle, The Enchanted Map, Kuan Yin Oracle, Gospel of Aradia Oracle, and more. I may review them, and if I do, would you all like written reviews here on the blog, or YouTube video reviews? Let me know.

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[CC: A photo of several small, colorful, hand-stitched Tarot deck bags. They all have different patterns and different color stitching. END CC]

In other news: New things are coming to my Etsy shop shortly! There will be new deck bags, suitable for tarot/oracle/angel cards of all kinds, AND new notebooks…in new sizes!! I will soon carry Pocket and B6 inserts, as well as B6 Traveler’s Notebooks. I’m so excited to be able to offer these to you.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been shopping with me lately. It honestly makes me so happy to pack up items and send them out to people. It’s about more than just the money; I enjoy providing a service or product that people can treasure and even benefit from spiritually.

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[CC: A grid of photographs of a hand holding up various cards from the Millennial Mystic Tarot. END CC]

Oh, and the Tarot decks! Yes, the Millennial Mystic Tarot decks will be shipping out soon.

Like, this week. Like, Tuesday. If you haven’t ordered one yet, click here to see the listing, and order yours now.

Without further ado, let’s get on to what videos I posted this week.

July 2019 Card Reading | OWN YOUR TRUTH, PROCESS CHANGE

This is the monthly card reading for July 2019. As usual, I’ve done a reading for the collective using tarot, oracle, and angel cards to read the energies of the coming month and give us all a bit of a heads-up on what we can expect!

FAVORITES Summer 2019!

It’s a favorites video, yes. I just have so much stuff to show…it’s a little embarrassing, but eh, these are fun videos to make.

I Don’t Know What’s In These Boxes?? | Random Unboxing

OK, so I exaggerated a little: I knew most of what was in these boxes. I just didn’t know precisely which box was going to contain which of the TOO MANY items I ordered in June. It was pretty fun, though, to open up boxes and not entirely know what I’d find.

So, I guess that’s about it, guys. I hope you’re doing really well. I’m mostly doing awesome, though my anxiety has been really, really bad…But what else is new. I’ll be okay. Always am.

If you’d like to support this whole operation financially, please do head over to my Etsy shop and find yourself something. If you’d rather support through social media boosting, please follow this blog and my Instagram and subscribe to me on YouTube for more videos about art, Tarot, and stationery.

And with all that being said…I hope that you are having a TRULY excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon.

Bye!
-Taylor

Weekly Blog 5/19/19 –

Hey guys! It’s Taylor, and today I don’t really have a topic. I thought I’d just give you some updates and, of course, the weekly digest.

Updates first:

  • The Millennial Mystic Tarot is still on track to be released June 9, 2019.
  • I’m working on a really big, really fun video where I’ll be setting up a frighteningly large watercolor palette, and sharing about my process for choosing paints, which is based on an awesome Skillshare class by Denise Soden.
  • I’ve been really enjoying doing daily card readings over on my Millennial Mystic Tarot Instagram. You don’t have to sign up for anything, you can just follow the MMTarot there and read the general energy forecast each day.
  • I may be illustrating a children’s book at some point soon. Whoa. Can’t say much right now, but….whoa.
  • I’m working on some new artist trading card originals for my Etsy shop. For just $20, with free shipping, you can own an original piece of my artwork, and I’ll even sign it for you! These are a great option for people who want to own an original but don’t have a lot of funds, or maybe just don’t have the space to display something large.

With that being said, let’s go on to the video digest!

May 13: Replying To My YouTube Comments – FINALLY

Yes, I went there – I finally went into my YouTube comments and faced the crowd and listened to what you’ve been saying! I am gaining courage in this, but still have a lot of anxiety about it, so please bear with me. Thank you for all your kind words!!

May 15: Mid-May 2019 Card Reading | Unbuckle From the Blame Game, Step Deeper Into Love!

Man, is it just me or do these monthly readings go DEEP?! By the way, this is the first time in one of my monthly readings that I’ve used MY deck, the Millennial Mystic Tarot.

May 17: Plan With Me – Bullet Journal Timelapse May 2019

Since I’m back in my bullet journal (again) and was able to film this month’s setup, I thought I’d share it…halfway through the month, but still, you get to see me set up and decorate my bujo!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Until next time…

-Taylor

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT Blog 4/22/19| The Millennial Mystic Tarot’s First Printing, New Project-mom Syndrome, and All My Feelings

Image description: A left hand, Caucasian, holds a medium-sized Tarot card, with the backing facing us. The cardback depicts four crystals, a crescent moon, and a night sky over an ocean. The background is vague and dreamy, and on the wrist of the hand is a tattoo: “I AM NOT AFRAID TO KEEP ON LIVING.” End description. 

Hey guys! I know I had another blog that was posted today, but I just HAD to get in here and share some thoughts really quickly.

I arrived home this afternoon to find a box in my mailbox from MPC – MakePlayingCards.com – and while it was no surprise, I’m pretty sure I had a very minor cardiac event taking  the box up to my apartment…I told myself not to get too hyped up, that this was just a test print, and that it was not going to be perfect. I’d planned to go upstairs, sit down with the deck, and write down notes on what needed fixing on each card.

Well, maybe I’m delusional from excitement, or maybe MPC just did a really great job…but the cards are flawless. FLAWLESS. I am amazed and thrilled and blown away. I can’t believe how GOOD they look. Everything is beautifully bright, beautifully saturated, and perfectly aligned on the card.

KingofPents_512.jpg

I don’t know how I lucked out this good, but honestly, the cards are exactly how I’d imagined them and dreamed of them.

It is…an incredible feeling. It cannot be described; the best I can do is to say that I feel like a popcorn machine starting to really get going. I feel like bits of excitement are just exploding in my chest. I’ve teared up several times.

I know. I’m acting like a new mom. The Empress energy is a little too real right now. But I’m basking in it. I have never completed a project that took anywhere near this long, and it has been a thousand percent worth it. I feel more whole than I have in a while, more at peace, more confident and also more humbled by the forces around me. I am so small, so insignificant, and it is an honor to be used in this way by the Forces That Be to create what needs to be created.

That’s what I see the Millennial Mystic Tarot as. Something that needed to be birthed into this world. I just played the role of the creative womb, the artistic pathway through which it came into existence.

Yep. New project-mom syndrome, I guess.

I don’t have anything further to say, really, except that yes, a flip-through will be coming shortly, and I’ll be sharing more about this project as news about it comes along. For now, though, I am just so goddamned proud of my work, and SO freaking grateful for those who have joined in the celebration, previously or today, and are helping me to celebrate the creation of my first deck!

S/O to S, V, and A for being incredibly generous and giving their time to review; to Aunt B for always looking at my art over Messenger and giving me both compliments and helpful tips; my Mom and Dädd (in-joke) for supporting this madness despite the simultaneous very real madness; and of course to my love, J, for helping me heal and helping me to make it through this project mentally. Also, S/O to EVERYONE who has liked, commented, or followed me on social media during the past 18 months.

I AM going to be doing a giveaway of a deck, but it will be US-only due to complex giveaway laws. I’m sorry, but it actually is complicated, and some of the penalties are very harsh. I will be posting about that later on my YouTube and Instagram, as well as here – so subscribe wherever and you’ll be notified.

For now, I’m going to get some rest and just play with my new cards. Of all the decks i own, I’ve waited the longest for this one. It’s completely (and I might not be speaking out of bias) worth it.

Stay tuned for more photos and info on ordering!

-Taylor

Weekly Blog 4/22/19: Overwhelm, Falling Behind, Catching Up, & Video Digest

Main image caption: Photograph of a rainbow-striped Tarot deck bag, surrounded by various witchy items, including a candle, a mini grimoire, a crystal, and an oracle deck. The image is from Taylor’s Etsy shop.

Hey all! Taylor here, with the weekly blog and some updates and info on how things are going.

I just completed my 3rd week working full time, and it still feels totally crazy to be doing this. At times I think “What was I thinking? This is nuts, I can’t do this.” I sometimes wonder what delusional state I was in to even apply for, interview for, accept, AND start a full time job.

Then again, I’ve done a lot of other “crazy” things in life, and the Universe has yet to let me fall on my ass (at least in a bad way). So I keep going, following the signs that tell me yes, even though this is crazy, you’re doing the right thing. I know that what I’m doing is what I need to be doing right now. Even if it doesn’t pan out long-term, it’s important that I do it, for now. I feel that very strongly.

And really, work isn’t bad. Work, in my case and in this particular job, is actually amazing. I can’t tell you about half the stuff because it’s secret, and the other half is actually ALSO secret but more in the “we haven’t signed a contract yet so don’t publicize it before we sign, please.” But it’s all interesting, and I work for and with awesome people, in an awesome company, so personally I’m okay with the required/requested secrecy.

So there’s really no issue with work…the issue is work plus Etsy plus Youtube plus blog plus having a social life. All of that doesn’t add up – not easily, at least. But…I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel like I can manage most of it, in some way, on a continuing basis. I mean, hell, I took yesterday (Sunday) and just sat down and recorded a 2hr workshop on angel cards, AND edited it, AND am uploading it now…and this is all DURING the craziness of my first month working FT. (And yes, I am okay and stable…I just had time and felt like it was time to make that angel card workshop!)

I guess what I mean is this: There’s nothing stopping me from managing to continue all of this stuff, even if it has to be somewhat streamlined, other than me. It’s just me telling myself I can’t do it. I truly believe, though, especially after this week of struggle but ultimately success, that I AM capable of managing it all.

I don’t have to choose. I can have my life and my work too. Being multipassionate doesn’t have to mean none of it gets done, in the end. Just means I have to be a bit more vigilant and a bit more inventive in my time management. 🙂

With that being said, and without further ado, here are the videos from this week.

April 15: Mid-April 2019 Check-In Card Reading

I’ve been doing monthly “first of the month” card readings all year, but I also do one on the 15th of each month – sort of a “check-in” to sit down and chat about how the month is going. This is that video, for April.

April 17: Sketchbook Tour 3 | Sketches and Designs from September 2018 to April 2019

I have done sketchbook flips (tours) for my past few sketchbooks; this is the third one in this loose series. It’s been a while since the last one but I wanted to share this one regardless. It’s amazing, to me at least, to see how my art has changed and improved over time. Keeps me hopeful about future improvement.

April 19 – no, wait, 20th: Grimoire With Me | Making My Book of Mirrors

This was a fun one, because it’s a Grimoire With Me meets Plan With Me: Two of my favorite things mashed together! It’s basically a grimoire in a six-ring binder/planner cover, and it contains my Book of Mirrors (sort of a spiritual/magickal journal, as opposed to a spellbook). During the voiceover I didn’t have much of a topic, just chatted about Books of Mirrors and this one’s particular purpose.

So that’s the video digest, and with that I’m going to sign off and post this blog before I end up posting things late again. Next week I’ve got a very special video workshop coming, assuming I can get a 2hr video successfully uploaded on my tired little MacBook and my weak Internet. I’ll keep you posted, as always, so stay tuned.

Before I go, though, I want to thank all the people who have been shopping at my Etsy shop lately. It honestly helps a huge amount; it may not be a huge dollar amount to most people, but actually, a large portion of my spending money (and a pretty huge portion of my funds for my art) comes from that shop. Starting next month I’ll have a bit more day-job income, but really, for right now I am able to do art largely because of my Etsy shoppers. I so appreciate you, and I have some new items coming soon, so keep visiting that shop and keep visiting here. 🙂

Thanks so much for reading. Have an awesome day!

-Taylor

PS – if you’re interested in the Tarot/oracle deck bag pictured above, check out the listing here!