Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Jul 30

Ellen on Etsy and Everything in Between

I have this repetitive saying going off in my mind.  It’s been there all day:  Scary but Necessary.  Scary but Necessary.  The word vulnerable keeps popping up, too. 

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long then you know I am a creature of habit.  I tend to eat the same things over and over.  I like routine.  In other words, I like the idea of controlling this little world of mine.  But the past couple of months have forced me to look at my life differently.  I can’t always dig in my heels whenever something goes awry or something different happens.  Sometimes I need to go with the flow and just stay the heck out of life’s way as it takes care of business.  This of course, is easier said than done. 

Making the decision to do the article in Woman’s Day Magazine was not an easy one.  At first I thought, Well, it’s not much different than when someone reads one of my blog posts, is it?    Well, yes and no.  First of all, I didn’t write this article whereas I write what’s on my blog.   When I agreed to the article I was asked a series of questions and I answered them; then someone else built the story of my life and declared it worthy of space in the magazine.  Honestly, you and I will be reading it for the first time together.   Letting go and trusting that things will work out is something that I continue to struggle with, but if I say no to everything that’s different or not within my comfort zone, how will I ever know what I’m capable of?   

Which leads me to the second thing that I’m feeling vulnerable about.  This morning I officially went Live with my Etsy shop.  In a way, it felt like giving my ‘baby’ away for someone else to hold.  For over a month I’ve been painting, snapping photos, writing, and learning about how NOT to fail when running a business.  Running a business.  Talk about vulnerability!  How do you explain to your mother that you are not going to look for another job right away, instead trying to support yourself from home?  The answer? Steer her question away from you with another question, like ‘So, how did you sleep last night?  Feeling good today?’  For now, that seems to be working but for how long, I don’t know. 

Honestly, I probably could have opened up shop  before now, but I kept putting it off.  Mainly, because I was scared to death to put myself out there; to try something new.  Even if that something might end up being a good thing.   Have you ever felt like that?

In the end though, I did it.  And by the way – as you’re reading this, know that you are participating in my virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Thank you for being here for it.   If you’d like to visit, click on the mini-store link at the top left side of my blog or click over from here:  Pieces Designs on Etsy 

It’s been a difficult year, but sometimes even pretty things can grow in the most stressful environments.


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
           Leonard Cohen


Thanks for reading today. 




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  1. Beth says:

    Did you know that Wal*Mart does not carry the Woman’s Day magazine?? I looked down every check out aisle and scanned every single magazine…not one Woman’s Day!! I think my local grocery store carries it…September issue is probably not even out yet, but I will be on the look out!

    • Ellen says:

      I can’t believe they don’t carry that mag. Hmm. Maybe the article will be available online. I’ll check for you. Or, maybe a bookstore? I’ll let you know when I get my copies. Thanks for telling me, though – that’s where I was going to direct people to.

  2. Roxie says:

    I, too, will be on the look out for Woman’s Day. I am interested in your thoughts behind the name of your Etsy store… do tell….

    • Ellen says:

      Oh, Pieces Designs? Well, when I started my very first business back when I was in my twenties I sold painted furniture and always called them ‘pieces’. They weren’t really paintings. I had this cool brochure that I designed where every letter in the word pieces was mixed and matched upper and lower case and each letter was in a different font. So, the word symbolized the different things one could find. Ever since then, my home email and every business venture I’ve ever had since has included the word ‘PiEceS’ in it. Doesn’t come across nearly as neat here on the computer though! lol

  3. Kyra says:

    Hey now, you have a job! Even if it doesn’t pay well at first, think of it as interning for yourself! Even if in the long run it doesn’t work out (but IT WILL, I’m just giving you a worst case scenario) you still are working your butt off, right? THAT IS A JOB! You have a job! You are a professional artist. President and CEO of your own company. Own it, Ellen, because you sure as heck earned it!

    • Ellen says:

      Man, that was the kick in the rear that I needed. And you’re right – If I were getting paid for this job on an hourly basis I’d be set for life! lol

  4. In _The Joy Diet_, Martha Beck suggests we should do something every day that scares the pants off of us! Reading your post is testimony to the value of that. I can feel your fear–and your pride and excitement, too! I’m so happy for you, Ellen!

    (Don’t forget to put your pants back on before leaving the house. :) )

    • Ellen says:

      Will do, Cammy. Don’t want to ave any nightmares about where my pants are! lol
      Thank you for your support in this new venture of mine. xo

  5. Hanlie says:

    Virtual ribbon cut. Bless you and your store!

  6. Jill says:

    Wonderful Ellen! Congrats on your new store!!

  7. munchberry says:

    You know you can see opening your shop as being vulnerable or you can see it as taking charge.

    I was wondering how you felt about having someone else write your story in WD, but I did not want to ask just in case it had not occurred to you. You have a great story. I am sure the article will demonstrate that.

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you Roz!! As soon as I figure out shipping around HERE in the states, I’m going to push myself into venturing into shipping to other areas. One thing at a time, though – for now, at least (until my freak-out has calmed down a bit!)lol

  8. teresa says:

    Hurray!!! I’m going right over to your shop after this. I had my own Etsy good energy this week! I actually sold my first thing. Here’s a tip: even if it seems like nothing is happening, don’t forget to check on your store!! My poor customer had to wait a month and call me. I felt so badly. And she was so cool. Of course, I sent her a few really good extras. Wow, see how I made this about me?
    I’m so excited for you!!! I’ll share your stuff and hopefully it’ll be a fruitful holiday season this year.

    • Ellen says:

      SO happy for you, tree. You’ve been so busy! Don’t they notify you that you have a potential customer? Or did the person just convo you? At any rate, glad you both connected!

  9. Lynn Bonelli says:

    Congratulations on your ribbon cutting! I’ve been following on FB. Beautiful work…captures the spirit of a beautiful woman, inside and out.

  10. A couple of things:

    You know I love your “pieces”…your art resonates with me and I am generally not an “art” girl.

    I just returned from an amazing retreat for solo entrepreneurs (UpLevel Your Business) that caters mostly to creatives/artists/coaches/healers (traditional and alternative) and so on. I can’t begin to explain everything I learned there, but will sum it up this way: we have to own our value and when we do, others will see it and will pay us what we’re worth. No, not everyone will be drawn to your work but your “peeps” are out there. Learning how to market yourself to them is the key. And what I love about the UpLevel approach is that it’s not the icky, cheesy marketing we’re accustomed to…it’s elegant and heart-centered. (And I agree with Kyra!)

    Re the WD article: I once had a similar article in a magazine called Quick & Simple (a weekly magazine published by Good Housekeeping). While it was an amazing process, I was disappointed with the result: they twisted my words, emphasized unimportant things, ignored or glossed over what I felt was the most important part, and worst of all, said I had lost 55 pounds in six months, when the truth is that I lost it over 18 months. I don’t regret that I did it because it was a valuable lesson and it’s not like it has defined me in any way, shape, or form. Now, I am not saying this to scare you or make you regret your decision. You won’t know until you see it, whether or not your story gets twisted. I’d like to think that WD is a higher class operation than Quick & Simple. But in the end, here’s my take: Big Media is in bed with Big Food/Diets and they just want to sell, sell, sell…so they take these before and after stories and set them up to do just that.

  11. didi says:

    I just checked out your new shop and it is looking very nice. I was happy to see that you have made some sales already. My shop is still crawling along, but I made four sales last month- which is my new record.
    July and August are the slowest months for most retail, so keep that in mind.
    I also invited you to our little advertising team. So excited for you!! It took me years to work up the courage to finally open an etsy shop.

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