Where’s the Toilet Paper

 

Empty Toilet Roll


If you have been following my blogs, I’m sure you have noticed how I like to lead into the next one from something I talked about before. Well do you remember the one about me sitting in the out house looking at the Sears & Roebucks wish book trying to figure out what I wanted Santa to bring me?

I just wonder, do you know why that catalog was in the out house? In the early 60’s and before it wasn’t there for reading material, lol no there was another very important reason for it being there.

Through the ages everything you could imagine had been used to clean up after using the bathroom. Pretty much what ever was close at hand, Coconuts, snow, leaves, even sea shells or pieces of clay.

During the early years of the American west a corncob or torn pages from a magazine was the common practice. The Sears & Roebuck catalog became so famous for this endeavor, they jokingly produced a spinoff of their catalog “Rears & Sorebutt Catalog” during the 1950’s. Another famous publication “The Farmer’s Almanac” still today has a single hole in the upper corner so that the magazine can be hung on a hook and allow pages to be torn out.

The first packaged toilet paper was produced in the US around 1857, packaged in a box similar to tissue paper and medicated with aloe. Finally during the late 1870s toilet paper began to look as we know it today, on a roll with perforated sheets.

Still it was looked upon as a luxury, in most homes, after all why travel to pay for something that came in the mail and was delivered free.

Paper production during those early years often left wood splinters embedded in the paper, hence the name Rears & Sorebutt, then in 1935 the first splinter free tissue was introduced by Northern Tissue.

In 1942, St. Andrew’s Paper Mill started to produce a 2 ply toilet paper and slowly America began to embrace the comfort of toilet paper as we know it today.

Today it’s normal to find stashes of extra rolls in any restroom, stacked in cabinets, on toilet paper racks, or hidden in decorative ways such as some of the products shown below which are for sell at various online Etsy stores.

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Bathroom Toilet Paper Cover // Bathroom Decor // Southern Living Crochet Bathroom Decoration // Southern Belle Bathroom Decor

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Digging a Little Deeper Into Social Networks

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Ok, so I discussed making a good first impression, engaging your audience and giving them  value when using Social Networking to market your products, but just which one will work  best for you? To be honest that depends on you, and the products you’re trying to sale.

Each networking site out there has their pros and cons, but there is another side you have to  consider. Just who are you trying to reach? Who is most likely to buy the things you sell?

Each sector, age group, or gender has different tastes and needs. For the most part, a 20  something woman who doesn’t have children, or a man probably won’t be in the market to buy  cute little baby clothes, while young mothers and grandmothers might be.  Tech savvy young  males could be searching the latest gadget, but an empty nester may care less about it.

Basically you need to think about your customers and where you can reach them. You need  to find out just where your target group hangs out. Every few months a new networking site  becomes the latest rage, and each one has its own followers.

For example, the age group of 16 – 24 are the most likely to be using Instagram, more Women use the service than men, and the women using Instagram mostly do not have children.

Pinterest is another site which is used mostly by women. Used mostly by mothers in  the age group between 25 and 54.

Men between 18 and 29 are the most likely users of Twitter, while Facebook, by far the  most used network on the market is favored by people over the age of 50.

So you can see by knowing who you are targeting and where they hang out is very important  in deciding where you should focus your efforts in marketing your store and products. The  internet is a wealth of information, and what is true today may not be true tomorrow. You  should regularly research the latest trends in the Social Networking game, but these are  some pointers to get started with.

Thank you for reading my blog and don’t forget to visit my vintage Estates In Time Store.

Memories of the Mountains in Western North Carolina

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Growing up in Western North Carolina during the 60’s was adventure. It was a time of cultural change, traditional Appalachian folk culture meet the Flower Power Movement. And coming from a rural community, just outside of the third largest city in North Carolina, I got to see it all.

My family had been one of the first settlers back in 1778, moving into the Asheville area from Pennsylvania. A long line of hard working, proud country folks which prided themselves in being able to survive.

I never really thought about it much as I was growing up, but as I look back now the diversities in lifestyles around that mountain city was truly amazing. Even within the households which I grew up in. Slopping the hogs, and milking the cow before breakfast. Hot home made biscuits, mixing home churned butter with the molasses my Uncle ran off, and on special occasions having fried eggs we gathered from the chicken coop. I remember cold mornings sitting in the outhouse, doing my business, while looking through the Sears & Roebuck’s wish book trying to decide what I was going to ask Santa to bring me.

These are things I remember vividly from my childhood at my aunts house who looked after me while my parents worked. At home, I grew up in a modest three bedroom home with running water, and a bathroom which the whole family shared. I can faintly remember my mom and dad picking out the first RCA television in the community and I remember listening to stories being told on my aunts console radio.

Growing up in the early 60’s on the outskirts of Asheville was full of contradictive lifestyles for me. I remember news clips of Oswald getting shot on the 6 o’clock News, and black n white images of Walter Cronkite reporting the early stages of Vietnam. My parents both worked hard, together to support our family.

My Mom worked a 40 hour work week in a local factory, sewed and made her own dresses, always kept the house clean, and supper was on the table for Daddy every night when he got home at 6. My Dad’s work scheduled started a little later than Mom’s so he was the one who got me up and going. I always saw him three time a day, When he got me up, while we ate supper, and when he came in from repairing other people’s cars around 8:30 or 9 o’clock at night.

Yeah they both worked long hard hours chasing that American dream, and in a way, I guess they did have it. The refrigerator and freezer was always full, shelves in the basement were stacked with home caned vegetables from our garden, everyone had one back then. Mom went to the beauty shop every weekend to get her hair done, and Dad had  his monthly fishing trip throughout the summer months. They worked hard and saved, but still found time and a way to enjoy life. While I was growing up we made two cross country journeys by car to see places like the Grand Canyon’s, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Redwood’s, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore. Along with many more short trips to the coast of North Carolina and Florida.

When I think back to those day’s and remember all that we did when I was younger it just amazes me. A simpler time, a time when a trip to Asheville on one of Mom’s shopping trips meant a hot fudge sundae in Woolworth’s Malt Shop or visiting the toy department in Sears & Roebucks. A time before strip malls when a shopping trip meant finding a parking spot and spending the day walking around town.

Back then a trip to town was exciting, now 5 & dimes are a thing of the past, along with Woolworth, Sears is no longer Sears & Roebucks, now it belongs to Kmart. Seem’s like most of my nostalgic memories are fading fast, I visited the Wall in Washington DC a couple years ago and was appalled at how run down and dirty the Lincoln Memorial was.

Every day, grabbing onto and holding memories of the past becomes more and more important. It’s been said that a history which doesn’t remember will repeat itself, sometimes I wonder if that’s such a bad thing, I guess if the good history equals out with the bad it might not be, but you never know.

Anyway I hope you have enjoyed my little story, and get out there look around at Vintage shops like mine at Estates In Time, fine your little bits of history, you can tell stories about, and enjoy a few moments of nostalgia.

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Growing Your Presents Through Social Networking

Social Networking


So I have talked a little about SEO and Blogging in a few of my posts so far, but what else can we do to help our Etsy shops? I spend a good bit of time reading and commenting in the Etsy forums, in fact some of the ideas I get to write about in my Blog comes from the forums. So I felt like touching on the subject of social networking might be the obvious next step in this line of articles.

After all, what is a forum other than a social gathering of people asking questions, and discussing matters which are important to them?

Some reoccurring questions I see over and over are “Does Instagram work for your shop?”, “How many sales do you get from Pinterest?”, “Do you get many views from Facebook?”, or “Has Twitter helped your shop?”.

Well, the best answer to these questions is subjective. According to how it’s used socializing can both help or hurt a business. Take for example, your meeting someone for the first time. That first impression can be the start of a great friendship, or just another encounter never remembered. Or even worst an encounter that leaves a desire to never repeat.

The idea or propose of socializing for business is to engage peoples interest. To give them something they can use, and to gain their trust. Basically using a social network is about selling yourself more than selling your product.

Ask questions, questions that really matter to the way you do business or to the products you sell. Then respond to the questions, let people know you’re a real person and that you value their opinions.

Give insights into things that are related to your product. Let’s say you have a business where you sell hand tied fishing lures, offer sections on your social page which links to lake water levels, or state fishing license requirements.

Run contest or trivia games, in other words make your social page a fun, informative site they will to visit again. By doing these things and using links to your shop, blog and any of the social networks you decide to use you not only improve your image to the public, you also improve all of your linking sites SEO.

Thank you for reading my Blog and check back soon for follow ups or follow me to be notified as new updates are added, and don’t forget to visit my Vintage store at Estates In Time.

A History of Clay Works in America

Vintage Florist Planter


The use of clay and earthenware products in America has been dated back to somewhere between 3500 to 2000 BC. And while other civilizations such as Greece, Egypt and China are better known for their mastery of fine earthen ceramics, the abundance of raw materials of every type can be found in America.

Shut off from Europe and Asia, the Olmec civilization of Mexico is known to have used kilns capable of firing pottery in the range of 900 degrees Celsius as far back as 1000 BC. A feat matched only by Egyptians in prehistoric times. Yet, although pottery was widely made and used in native American cultures, the development of stoneware, fine porcelains or glazes, such as those found across Europe and into the Far East, never came to pass.

With the arrival of European settlers, Old World Craftsman began to apply their trades. By 1650 Brick making was wide spread through out the colonies. Still the Potter’s wheel did not see much use for anything other than for basic useful wears. Fashion and society preferred imported porcelain and china even though everything needed to produce these items were at hand.

During 1700’s manufacturing began to take hold. While fashion still preferred imports, this along with Britain’s desire to suppress the growth on independence, the Potter was often forced imitated such imports and it wasn’t until the opening of the 19th century before the Potter’s mark became a standard practice. Still slowly American pottery was beginning to gain a foothold. At the battle of Lexington, in 1775 seventy-five Potters stood on the battlefield and towns had sprung up with names such as Jugtown or Clay City.

The onset of the American Revolution also brought an explosion of American stoneware production. Both as a form of boycott as well as the blockade of import traffic, American stoneware increased and improved to the point of approaching fine grades of porcelain.

As the 1800’s approached American porcelain makers began to close in on the quality of fine white China. The first truly successful china works was Tucker Porcelain. Born in 1800, William Ellis Tucker started production in 1826. By 1827 his porcelains had won a silver medal at the 4th Franklin Institute exhibition, then again in 1828 for porcelain wares which compared to “the best specimens of French China”. Yet William’s rise to fame was cut short with his death in 1832.

The 1800’s also gave way to the industrial revolution. The introduction of mechanical pressed and molds along with invention of liquid clay which could be poured into casting molds increased production while lowering cost.

By the end of the 19th century new names begin to appear. Names such as Haeger, McCoy, and Hull. Artisans who’s designs in pottery molds were used to decorate the home of America into the 20th century.

Below are a few examples of mid 20th century clay artworks which could be found in middle class homes during the 1950’s and beyond.

Yellow Bird Figurine with Nest Planter // Glazed Mid-century Yellow Bird Figurine // Vintage Bird Figurine    Yellow Boxer Bulldog Figurine with Small Planter // Glazed Mid-century Yellow Boxer Dog Figurine // Vintage Bulldog Figurine

Scottie Scottish Terrier Figurine / 1940's era Ceramic Black Scottie Figurine       Bunny Figurine, Vintage Bisque Mother and Baby // Collectible Bunny Figurine in Victorian Style

 

 

 

Blogging & Marketing, How to use a blog for your Etsy Store!

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If you visit the forums of Etsy on any given day, 90% of the questions you will see have to do with either “What am I doing wrong”, “How can I improve my sales”, or “How do my tags look”. What it all boils down to is Marketing and SEO!

A few days ago I blogged a little about SEO and gave a brief summary about what I know about the subject. The whole idea is to get found, and to generate traffic. If you were thinking about opening a brick and mortar store, where would you want to rent your storefront at? Would you rather be on a major thoroughfare, or some secluded little out of the way place?

Well I guess we all now the answer to that one. On the Internet you have the opportunity to be on one of the busiest streets in the world, where anyone, from any country can pass by and walk into your shop. LOL and the rent here is a whole lot cheaper than Main Street in any town, sort of!

The cost of rent on the Internet isn’t measured in dollars near as much as it measured in sweat equity, so to speak. It’s a lot of work getting to the top (those first page listings), and even more staying there.

Lately I’ve been reading some post on the Etsy Forum asking about Blogs and are they worth the time. Well to be honest everything is what you put into it! If you start off without a plan and go at it for two or three weeks then quit, well then, NO, it isn’t worth your time. Nothing is an overnight success. But there are some things that you can do to improve your chances of success.

First of all you need to have an understanding of SEO, the same things that gets your product close to the top of Etsy’s search will get your blog found by the major search engines. So titles, tags and content is important. Next you need to write about things that will interest people. This is really the biggest part, because if you can’t grab the reader’s interest and hold them there, there is really no use.

You need to tell a story, tell jokes, and offer tidbits of information which are useful. I have read scores of really great blogs from Etsy writers, each one having their own style and format. There is really no wrong or right way to do it. Some post DIY information or recipes, some tell stories about the hunt for just the right vintage article to resell, while others focus on featuring other shops in Esty. To be honest they are all great stories, They grab your attention and hold you there through the end.

My blog, when I’m not trying to help other members out with ways to market their products, is more along the lines of history, I really am a big history buff, LOL I could go into a story right now about how a lady named Pollyann who saved the settlement of the town where I grew up during an Indian attack but I’ll save that for another story.

So anyway, once you get your writing style down and you have good content, just how do you get found? The Internet is full of FREE avenues to shout out to. I’m sure you have thought about Tweeter, and Facebook but there are so many others. Professional sites such as LinkedIn, News sites such as DiggStumbupon, Reddit. and add links through sited such as Delicious, just to name a few of the social networks you can join and post to.

Ok then, now you have good content, and you are listed in Social Networks, how do you get found by Search Engines? Well there is the natural process, a few months down the line you might get found, if you have your tags just right, and enough people are visiting everyday, OR maybe you could stack the cards in your favor!

I’m going to say one word “PING”. When you ping your blog you are telling search engines that your there, You are inviting them to crawl your site and rank you. If you have the parts of SEO it is like a fast track to Main Street with free rent!

There really is a lot involved, and it is not an easy task, you have to be diligent and persistent, but with hard work you can get on top!

Check out my Vintage Shop on Etsy EstatesInTime, and Thank you for reading my Blog

Seashell Art, a view into the past!

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Every summer millions travel to the beaches around the world. Some to relax in the sun, others for the adventure of battling a large game fish swimming just off shore. Still the one, almost universal activity which each and every beachcomber does while walking alone the shoreline is hunt seashells.

Each morning, just at sun rise, no matter which beach your on, or in what part of the world, your sure to meet another Treasure Hunter meandering along searching for their trip’s souvenir.

It has been said that life itself came from the oceans, that mankind is a child from the very shorelines so many flock to each year. Whether this is true or not is a debate which will be carried on into eternity, yet there is one truth that can never be debated, Man has had a fascination with the sea and it’s seashell’s throughout time.

Due to the use of seashells for religious ceremonies and personal decoration, the Seashell’s use as currency has been discovered on every continent dating back into prehistoric times. Some so popularly used that even today their name hints to their past.

The Money Cowry  thXZQONMC9.

And the wide use of seashells does not lend itself only to currency. Spiritually, the use of seashells in religion spans the globe. The Scallop Shell, also known as the Pilgrim Shell, came to symbolize Saint James in Christianity for the custom of Medieval Christians wearing the shell on pilgrimages the apostle’s shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. While the Shankha shell, also known as a Conch Shell is important to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Similar to the Greek God Triton, these religions use the Shankha as a trumpet bellowing out during their religious ceremonies, especially blessed is the person of Hindu faith which finds a Conch shell with a left handed twist.

When it comes to personal decorations, we know that this has been carried on for at least 2600 years. There are documented cases of whole shell necklaces made by Tasmanian Aboriginal women during this time, along with Shell necklaces found in Stone Age graves as far inland as the Dordogne Valley of France. The use of seashells in custom jewelry continues on into the present day. Craftsmen around the world adorn fine jewelry with seashells and inlays of fine Abalone. Below is just a few examples of the craftsmanship you can find on Etsy.

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Moving on into the late 19th century, Seashell Art entered into a new era. Traveling Sea Merchants and Sailors needed gifts to return home with. In a play on the shellwork artifacts made by the Aboriginal women of Sydney, New South Wales, the Sailor’s Valentine was born. A small jewelry box, normally octagon shaped and adorned with small seashells. Often these boxes featured heart-shaped designs, or included a sentimental expression of love spelled out in shells.

These sentiments of love, along with other forms of Seashell Art have been carried on ever since. Below is a few examples of Seashell Art which my family picked up on our trips to the coast during the 1960s and 1970’s.

Shell Art    shl4

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