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Misfit Manor Diary….little changes & staying in alignment

Misfit Manor Shop

Little changes…

Sweet Miss Millie has been at Misfit Manor for almost 4 years now. She was considered a senior when she arrived here (at least 10) but after a little TLC she quickly became a healthy, happy and sassy permanent member of the family. The last few months we have noticed a lot of change. Her vision and hearing are pretty much completely gone. You can see the effects of arthritis on her back and hips. She moves a lot slower and she is contented to spend her days mostly sleeping…yet she is still so happy. It seems nothing can rob this dog of her joy…not even going blind.

Millie dresses up for trips to the park!

Every day I load “the pokeys” in the car and we go to the same park for our walk. Rosie comes along in her stroller…Millie, Allie, Lacey and Turnip come too. With the exception of the Lacey…none of them wear a leash. They just stick together by me and bother no one…they are having too much fun to bother anyone. I turn either music or an audio book on speaker on my phone and off we go. Despite having lost her vision and having arthritis Millie still walks the whole loop at the park (just under a mile). She trots along using the edge of the concrete path as her guide. Sometimes she gets turned around and walks in the wrong direction…we just pick her up and turn her around and off she goes again. My walk with “the pokeys” is one of the highlights of my days…it takes forever…I do a lot of just standing around waiting for them to sniff all the interesting smelly things they pass by…but it is so peaceful…even my husband likes coming with on their walk. Millie and the rest of The Pokey’s enjoy each moment…its incredibly relaxing to be with creatures who have mastered living in the moment…almost like a mid-day meditation session for me. Every single day we are at the park together I am reminded of how grateful I am for my simple life with them…contentment comes from such simple things.

Fall in Kentucky…staying in alignment

Fall in Kentucky never gets old for me. It is so incredibly pretty here and fall weather is my favorite…crisp mornings and warm afternoons. This year I have spent more time outside than I have in my whole adult life. We put in new gardens that have kept me very busy…we have an entire freezer full of homemade spaghetti sauce made with tomatoes from our garden! We added a pickle ball court and bought a ping pong table we keep in the garage and wheel out to the driveway to play. Like most people…life is happening almost entirely at home. We are grateful to have the space to basically have our own playground here.

Misfit Manor

Halloween, an entire season for me, was really low key this year. Bret built us a bonfire and we sat outside and waited for the full moon to arrive. The dogs love Misfit Manor bonfires…outside playtime and inevitably lots of snacks for them.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Allie loves our bonfire nights!

Fall is the beginning of what I call my “nesting season”. Oddly enough…since I moved to Kentucky I really enjoy the winters…I enjoy having a few months to rest and nest in the house but most afternoons still get warm enough to be outside with the dogs. All the projects left undone in the house all summer get caught up…and I enjoy having more time to cook.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Maddie

This year, in a lot of ways, it has become easier to stay in alignment….by which I mean not getting distracted by things that are not serving my authentic self or my little family. Boundaries have become more important than ever and they can be hard for me…I am wired to be compassionate and to be helpful…both of which can put me in a position of being over extended and taken advantage of. This year I have set some really firm boundaries to protect my energy. Keeping things going smoothly at Misfit Manor is work enough…I’m not young anymore and I need all of my energy…in every form…physical, spiritual, emotional…I can’t let anyone or anything zap my energy from me. Sometimes setting boundaries riles other people up….I have learned to live with that. Absolutely nothing is worth my peace.

Getting ready for holiday sales…not being a jerk is a good business model

I’ve been spending my evenings getting ready for holiday sales for months. Our Misfit Manor holiday sales are so important…it is how I pay vet bills for the Misfits for most of the year. With such nice weather I have been fortunate to be able to work outside…the best part of that being the Misfits get to play in yard while I work.

Miss Rosie never far from my side.

Our shops have been busier than normal this year (so grateful) with so many people not wanting to spend as much time out in the stores and working from home. We have definitely experienced more shipping issues than in the past…but in the context of the pressure on the USPS, UPS, etc…it is still running fairly smoothly. When I do have a shipping issue…my customers are always surprised when I tell them I will make it right. I have become accustomed to the process….I get an angry, often accusatory message that they did not receive their package…sometimes threatening to write me a trash review because they are angry…even though I have no control over shipping (or theft of packages…which is much more common this year). Customers assume they are going to get screwed. I take a deep breath…reminding myself to not take it personally (especially these days when everyone has a short fuse)…and then I respond. I always respond the same…I verify the tracking data….tell them what I think has happened…share that I am as bummed as they are that they did not get their package…and then explain that I too shop almost entirely online and I am going to treat them the same way I want to be treated. I work out a solution that makes them happy even if I have to remake and reship the items at my expense…when it is not my fault at all. Funny…people are shocked when they are treated decently…the customer expectation is that this person on the other end of the transaction is going to give them the flimflam…and part of me understands this…I know a lot of Etsy sellers…and many of them take no responsibility for items lost in the shipping process. It is so much more fun to be decent…and frankly a far better long term business model to be decent.

Misfit Manor Shop

I do think shipping will be very challenging as we get closer to the holidays. The post office has already added a hefty surcharge for commercial packages shipping during the holiday season. If you are planning to shop online…please shop early!

We are running a sale this weekend (at the Misfit Manor Etsy Shop) on all of our ornaments…15% off and free shipping. Take a look at our gallery of ornament images (below) and visit our Shop to take advantage of our sale!

Have a great weekend!

Nancy & The Misfits

  • Dog Mom Ornament
  • Dog Grandma Ornament
  • Dog Dad Ornament
  • Dog Foster Mom Gift
  • Dog Dad Christmas Ornament
  • Dog Lover Ornaments
  • Cat Lover Ornaments
  • Cat Dad Christmas Ornament
  • Yorkie Lover Ornament
  • Dog Mom Ornament
  • Vet Tech Ornament
  • Pitbull Lover Gift Set, The Misfit Manor Shop
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Pet Rescue Art: “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti

Pet Rescue Art:  “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti

Pawffiti...a reflection of our lifestyle.
Pawffiti…a reflection of our lifestyle.

I have spent the last few months learning the process of getting giclee prints made of some of my paintings…maybe I am just getting older…but navigating new things (especially technology) gets ever more complicated and frustrating.  One of things I have learned the hard way with my budding art store is that it is a constant time battle to try to manage on an online store and have enough time to create.  Running an online shop has required me to learn Search Engine Optimization, advertising and networking on social media and photography (which I still really stink at still).  I have learned online payment systems…photo editing…the list goes on.  My little art store has now shipped products to 29 different states in the U.S.!   I am hoping to hit all 50 in the next year or so and at some point I would like to ship internationally.

ETYS main
Image of the first print run!

I believe I have finally put together a cost effective yet very high quality team to get my art prints made.  I am really excited that I can use my prints to generate even more funds for rescuing animals.  So far in just the first quarter of 2015 The Rescue Mama Shop has generated $820 in donations of cash and merchandise to rescue groups.  I am hoping to grow this number significantly throughout the year.  I am hoping that my “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti will be a big part of that.  When I first posted the original painting on Facebook last month it was well received and I had a lot of requests for prints (and tshirts and bumper stickers, etc).

Getting prints made requires professional photographs of the originals…I have found a wonderful photographer in Lexington (Mary Rezny) who does an amazing job creating my electronic art files for me and has been generous with her time answering my endless questions about the process.  It also required finding a high quality printer that can provide archival quality prints that don’t break the bank…after test running a few shops I have been thrilled with the product I am getting from http://www.iprintfromhome.com.

I sell all of my originals and prints at my ETSY shop.  25% of the sales price of my originals go to rescue donations (the buyer can choose which rescue group gets the donation if the desire).  For all of my print sales I donate 10% of the sale.  I accumulate the total all quarter for my print sales and then write one check at the end of each quarter to a rescue group that I choose (which is usually a group in Kentucky as the needs for animals is so great here but there are other groups that I send to as well).

20150311_194843I have also been making cards with each of my new prints.  They make great cards for new pet adoptions or simply as “thinking of you” cards for pet rescue friends, dog walkers, veterinarians.   I am selling them for $3.99 at my shop.

Likeness of Hercules
Likeness of Hercules

This “Live to Rescue” painting was inspired by my Sparky…who as you know passed away last week.  I can’t put in to words how deeply I miss him.  Sparky spent his days either laying next to my easel or laying next to my desk…the house seems decidedly empty without him.  I am so grateful that I have painted so many pictures of him…I bet he gets a kick out of knowing that his sweet face is hanging in so many homes around the country.

Years ago…the reason I started painting in the first place was the loss of my Rottie, Hercules.  It was only a few months after he had passed that I realized I was losing my mental image of him…so I started doodling pictures of him and eventually I painted him…it was then that I realized…hey maybe I can do something productive with my painting.  Here I am several years later with my own little shop.  I am having fun…keeping the spirit of my dogs alive, giving voice to homeless and abused animals and raising some extra money for other dogs.

If you are interested in following my work more closely please follow my blog where I post weekly about my art, crafts and life with a house full of rescued pets and like my Facebook Page where I post daily.

Rescue On!

Nancy