Friday, July 2, 2010

Cajun Corner - Vol. 2, No. 25

Cajun Corner – Vol. 2, No. 25 – July 2, 2010

Bon Jour! Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


Don’t forget to visit our blog at and often.

This week we have to catch up for two weeks since I took a long weekend last weekend and went to Mexico Beach.

First, I want to clear something up. Mexico Beach is in Florida, not Mexico. It is east of Panama City and about three hours from Pensacola.

Father’s Day was spent back on the beach, eating at Peg Leg Pete’s and roaming around Ft. Pickens. The drive down Ft. Pickens Road was as beautiful as ever. Twice we saw pods of dolphin playing in the water. It was a picture of paradise on a breath taking, perfect day. I have posted to the blog since Father’s Day. So, go back a few postings and catch up.

Last week, in anticipation of the weekend, I went shopping. I truly hate to shop. The only shopping that I like, and I really like it, is fabric shopping. Okay, I also like the dollar store. I’m so frugal that George says sometimes when I walk, I squeak. Ha-ha. Must have been a dormant gene because the rest of the family loves to shop and spend money. I just don’t like the concept of money. I know it’s needed and all but I find my joy in people, nature and art. Nevertheless, I broke down and went shopping. I purchased a new wardrobe for the weekend. I bought lots of shorts and sun dresses.

We were told to pack lightly because my friend’s house isn’t big enough for the amount of luggage that these girls usually bring. As my friend said, you are going for a 3-4 day weekend, not a month.

Friday, George drove me to Paulette’s house where we were to wait on our ride. When the ride arrived, George left and we were waiting on Paulette. In the meantime, we hopped in the SUV and went to my friend’s home because she forgot her coffee. We couldn’t have been there 2 minutes before she was back in the car and backing out of her driveway directly into a truck that had pulled up behind her. No one was hurt but the vehicles took some damage. Turned out the guy in the truck had pulled up to pick up his buddy for a day of golf. He had borrowed the truck from a friend. As they were exchanging insurance information, my friend realized that the guy was a deputy sheriff. What a way to start our vacation!

We were finally on our way and I sat shotgun. The trip did take a good 3 hours but I was enjoying the scenery and the girls in the car.

Mexico Beach is one of those lost in time little beach towns. It looks like a 1950’s Florida beach town that never really progressed past the 50’s. It is adorable. My friend’s home was one of the usual concrete block Florida homes. That is until she remodeled. Her home is light and bright. The colors on the walls are a different vibrant color in each room, all trimmed in white. Once you walk into the house it makes you feel happy. The home is very open, light and airy. The décor is all beach and mermaid themed. You just feel happy in that house.

The weekend was wonderful. You know the rules. What happens in Mexico Beach, stays in Mexico Beach. I will tell you that on many occasions that weekend we all laughed until we were doubled up. There were 11 of us, in all. By the time I returned home, I was totally rejuvenated.

One of the fun things on the trip was to see all of my embroidery that I’ve done over the years for these girls. They brought their pillows in the pillowcases that I embroidered for them. They packed in totes that I made and embroidered for them. And even wore visors from Cajun Stitchery. There were a few embroidered koozies and coasters, too.

Monday had me working on Etsy, again. We had some orders for napkins and I listed some new napkins on Etsy, as well. A friend has requested the Marine Corp insignia embroidered on a bag. So, I did a set of napkins with the insignia to show her the finished embroidery. The Marine napkins were listed on Etsy on Tuesday. It is very difficult to list 5 items a day. The listing alone takes me about 30 minutes. To make 5 items from start to finish in one day is more than I can do at this point. There is so much thought and work that goes into creating the design, even if it is just a stock design. We have thousands of designs and to pick only one, make it the right size, color, density, etc., is a lot of work. Even doing the embroidery on napkins takes time, although it is faster than constructing the item.

I stay up late a night reading the forums on Etsy and just trying to figure out how to sell. I have some good basic knowledge. I have a lot of business experience. And I’m learning something new all of the time. I was at a point where the key to Etsy is good photography and lots of listings, even if you have to re-list items, just to keep your shop on top of the most recently listed items. What I now want to understand is all of these analytics. Not just what they are and how to move around in the program, but also what do they mean to Cajun Stitchery’s success? I can tell you how many visitors have been to our Etsy store. I can tell you what days or even time of day that they visited. I can even tell you what they looked at. That’s all fine and good, but it doesn’t tell me why they didn’t purchase the items they looked at.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one in this dilemma. Etsy arranged for a “lab” on Wednesday specifically for understanding the Google Analytics. The “lab” was a new experience for me. At a certain day and time you go to an online classroom. It’s a button on Etsy and it opens up and each person is represented by their avatar. You put your avatar in one of the seats and you have the ability to message to the group. In the center of the room is the speaker on webcam. You see her live. You can message and ask questions. The lab was a wonderful new experience for me. The content of the lab was also helpful. We had the lab on one site and Google Analytics on another site and we could, and did, switch back and forth throughout the hour lesson. I learned a lot. Now there is a forum on Etsy to ask more questions and for those who were not able to attend the lab. Etsy is really good about being helpful in your sales.

I walked away analyzing the stats. People are going to our shop. We do not have a high bounce rate, meaning that people are taking their time and looking around the shop. Few people search for us on Etsy, itself. Most of our visitors have either clicked on a link to come directly to our shop or they have simply typed in our address to come directly to our shop. But there are few sales. What do I need to do or not do at the store to increase the sales? One thing is to look at what has been purchased versus what has not. We have sold handkerchiefs, cell phone holders, and napkins. We have not sold towels, totes or koozies. There is only one towel on the site and that is a little hand towel with the big red lips. It may be there just isn’t a big selection of towels to choose. That one towel has had a lot of visitors, though. Insofar as the totes are concerned, I’m tiring of totes and I think most people are. They really do last forever and most of us have enough. However, these are not just your everyday totes. The embroidery is exquisite on each of them. If you search for totes on Etsy, there is a plethora of people making and selling totes and purses. More than likely the tote market is saturated. That leaves the koozies. Now I, personally, think the kloth koozies are a wonderful item. They are unique and pretty. George and I both use them. They are not selling. People may be thinking that $10 is too high for a koozie, but then I put the sets of 4 koozies for $20. That means half price when you purchase a set. Still no buyers. I’ve decided not to pursue the kloth koozie line.

I’m going to list more handkerchiefs, cell phone holders, and napkins. These are items that have sold. Then I’m going to try another category to take the place of the koozies and I believe for now that will be scarves, maybe table runners or small tablecloths in the future.

One of the Etsy forums said that the black and white combination, animals and anything French are en vogue this year. With that in mind I took some white napkins, and embroidered in black work a design of two birds sitting on a branch singing and embroidered the phrase “chanson d’oiseau” underneath. [chanson d’oiseau means birdsong] I listed the napkins. Without us even trying to advertise, people are visiting that listing. We put the listing on facebook, kaboodle, tumblr, and stumbleupon. I may have put it on an earlier post this week. Then I left it alone. We are getting visitors. That tells me that these are the trends for which people are looking. I have some more of the black on white polka dot fabric and I’m going to post some more handkerchiefs. I do want to include some new techniques with the handkerchiefs but I need to stay with the black on white, animal, French combination.

I’ve also learned not to direct advertise on Twitter and Tumblr. With those I simply post several times a day. They know what I do. On Tumblr I am able to include pictures and do that a lot. I have learned that people like pictures. Also, I’m trying to learn to improve my photography.

There is still a lot of work ahead but I feel we are starting to gain some momentum with the Etsy store and I’m very pleased.

The garden is doing just fine. For awhile there we were harvesting tons of tomatoes. We still have the plants and they are very lush and beautiful but no tomatoes. I have to figure out what is happening there. Looks like some more fertilizer may be needed.

On Monday of this week, a friend called George and told him to apply for a job as a wildlife observer with Deepwater Horizon. The friend had already recommended George for the job. George did look into it and showed up at the Crown Plaza on Tuesday for the interview. He said there were hundreds of people gathered to be interviewed for this job. As they were all gathered and waiting, it turned out that several of the people waiting to be interviewed had outstanding warrants. The police came in and hauled all of these people away. Can you imagine? Anyway, everyone was then told to go across the street to the Civic Center for the urine test. George passed and he didn’t even study for it. Lol. When they returned, they were told that another group came in after them and they handed out all of the applications and suggested that George’s group contact a lady on email and send their resumes. George was lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Although he doesn’t need the job; he’s retired. He wanted the job.

The following morning George received a call asking him to come to the Civic Center. Apparently the Crown Plaza kicked them out. He got the job. The really nice thing about it is that he will get benefits, i.e., health insurance. We have been without health insurance since I lost my job and it’s simply too expensive for Cajun Stitchery to purchase. So, this is a wonderful turn of events. He has to get “permitted” next week and then he starts work. He has a six month contract. His hours are 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. But that works out well for George because his doctors told him since he had the cancer on his arm that he should never be outside without long pants, long sleeves and something covering his body. In this heat, that would be overbearing. But at night, he doesn’t have to worry about the sun. One of my friends said I should change Cajun Stitchery’s hours to 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. since I work best at night anyway and we could be on the same schedule. Of course, I do need to have Cajun Stitchery open during the day and the hours are not going to change.

It’s going to be a fun weekend. Tonight we are going to a cocktail party at a friend’s condo on the beach. Tomorrow we are meeting George’s sister on Perdido Beach for lunch. Then, of course, Sunday is the 4th of July and we plan on joining some neighbors to celebrate.

I better get back to work. Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Always remember that we are just a call or email away at or 850-261-2462 and place your order.


Two people sent me the following joke this week, Marshall Larrivere and Lynn Ciutat. Thanks to both of you.

Subject: BP No Longer Hiring Cajuns!

Bulletin... you heard it here first!

British Petroleum announced today that they will no longer hire

coastal Cajuns to help in the cleanup. Boudreaux and Fontenot

were told to clean as many brown pelicans as they could....

So far, they have cleaned and gutted over 56 birds.


French phrase of the week: Je peux pas partir mon char. (I can't start my car.) ΘΘΘΘΘ


Independence Day is a time when most people get together with friends and have BBQs. At most BBQs there is a lot of paper plates and plastic utensils and cups which just get thrown away. This is a great waste and something that can be avoided. I want to share some simple tips that will allow you to have a more eco-friendly holiday weekend.

• Napkins- Use colorful cloth as napkins so that they can be washed and reused. You can easily go to the fabric store and make napkins out of fabric scraps.

• Tablecloth- If you want to use one, use an old sheet and let the kids decorate it.

• Plates, Utensils and Cups- If you have to use these, use washable stuff or recycled paper plates and biodegradable utensils.

• Food- Make finger foods, then you don’t need plates. Also buy healthy and organics foods from local farmer markets.

• Decorations- Make your own decorations out of stuff you already have around the house. You can also let the kids make the decorations.

• Invitations- If you want to invite people, use electronic methods like social networks to invite people. You can also use this to thank people for coming.

Please let me know if there is something that you would like to see in the weekly email. You may always call me at (850) 261-2462 or email me at

If you are not a subscriber and would like to receive Cajun Corner weekly, please email and let me know to put you on our email list.

C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S. You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

SALE OF THE WEEK (Good through Thursday, July 8, 2010)

Sale: Tote with initials embroidered = $20.00

Liberty Bags - #8811

Recycled® Super Feature Tote

Colors: black, hot pink, light tan, navy, purple, red, royal blue

50% recycled 600D polyester/PVC. 15"W X 13"H X 4"D. Zippered main compartment. Adjustable straps. Contoured main front pocket gusseted side front pockets. Compartments for water bottles and cell phones as well as pen loops. 8" X 9" inside hanging pocket. Hanging ring for keys. Color matched hardware.

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