Sunday Morning 6/27/2021: It’s An Etsy Life

Sunsets are like snowflakes: they’re all unique

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

I got the big idea last Sunday to list my hashioki (chopstick rest) collection on Etsy, and have been wrestling with it ever since, although I have made a lot of progress and have already made two sales (thanks, C!). I thought I had around 300 unique hashioki, but instead there turned out to be nearly 500. I used to put a few out in a basket and rotate them every couple of months, but the girls were fascinated with them when they were little and a few got broken so I put them away and they have been in a box for over 20 years. Each was individually wrapped in tissue paper for storage and unwrapping them last Sunday afternoon took a couple of hours, although each one was like a little surprise. The hashioki quickly took over the sofa and the coffee table and caused a chaotic mess for a while. By that evening though I had them organized into groups by subject matter or shape, and on Monday I started the massive project of taking photos to list on Etsy. Any thoughts of getting this job done in a couple of day quickly evaporated – the reality is it’s an exhausting task and will probably take another two weeks to complete. I honestly had no idea at first what I’d gotten myself into, and hurt my back on Monday from bending over repeatedly to take close-up photos.

Things haven’t changed much since last Sunday except the sofa is clear again and things are a bit more organized.

Brett has also stepped into help to keep me from becoming overwhelmed. When I finish photographing each group, I put the hashioki into a Ziploc bag, then either Brett or I label it and place the bag into a box. When I’m done, Brett’s going to set up a spreadsheet as well so I can keep track and make sure the right hashioki goes to the right person. The hashioki have pretty much taken over the shop for now but I’ve listed a few other Japanese items to break up the monotony.

My three favorite hashioki will not be sold.

The name of my Etsy shop is FuruiShibui. Etsy wouldn’t let me put a slash in-between the two words when I created the name, but furui means “old” and shibui means “restrained elegance.” This is apparently going to be my life for a while, but I want to get as many of these things sold as possible before we leave, and getting it set up and going now will give me a better chance of that happening. I know though that nothing is going to happen very quickly, but hopefully sales will happen. Whatever doesn’t sell will go to Meiling and/or WenYu when we leave Hawaii and they’ll manage the shop and collect/keep any income while we’re on the road. I never, ever thought I would part with my hashioki collection, but when I thought about them being in a box for over 20 years and not being displayed I realized I probably wasn’t every going to put them out again and it was time for others to enjoy them.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m halfway through The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. It’s been very pleasant having a single book to read for a change, with nothing else breathing down my neck or coming up soon.
  • Listening to: Brett’s putting away last night’s dishes and making coffee, and there’s a gently breeze blowing through the trees outside – another perfectly quiet morning. The sun is shining and for now it’s not very cloudy, so we may head to the beach after we get a few chores done here.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished the last available season of Unforgotten last Monday, and then we watched Unorthodox (on Netflix) the rest of the week. Based on the book Unforgotten: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman, the miniseries was about a young woman’s experience leaving her restrictive life in a Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg, New York. I read Feldman’s book several years ago, and felt the film was done very well, especially on such a sensitive topic. I am throughly enjoying my rewatch of Great British Menu. There is much I missed the first time, and it’s also interesting to go back and see how the show, the judges, and the chefs changed over the years. I’m also starting to notice foods and ingredients that never get used – I have yet to see bell pepper included in anything, for example. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing them in England, but they never appear in this show.
My Etsy logo is my favorite little guy, Inu Hariko.
  • Happy I accomplished: It has been a crazy week, all things considered, but somehow everything got done outside of the Etsy madness. Getting the sofa cleared of hashioki this past week was a huge accomplishment though. Besides having two sales in my first week, I’m happy with how much I’ve gotten done with the chaos, although there is still much to do. The first sale, while exciting, also showed me things I needed to change/fix to be more efficient, so hopefully things will go more smoothly in the future.
  • Looking forward to next week: 1)I love all my hashioki but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing and I’m looking forward to having them out of the way, or at least more of them. 2) We’re doing another big shop this week, one that has to get us through three weeks. It will be a challenge but we’re ready to stock up again. 3) We’re going to try for two beach days this week because we didn’t get to go this past week.
Vegetarian hippie bagels!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) My Etsy sales were the highlight of my week, especially as I’m still getting the shop set up. Getting my shop favorited comes in right behind. 2) Brett and I enjoyed a nice Father’s Day brunch at a nearby coffee place, sharing “hippie bagels” (vegetarian) and a cup of coffee while we watched the world (and lots of tourists) go by from the outdoor counter. A little bird stayed with us from the moment we arrived, hoping for some crumbs. 3) We enjoyed an evening fire and s’mores on Friday.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) I used leftover packing materials we had kept to send my first two sales out this past week. I am going to have to acquire more supplies though. 2) Other than picking up a package of CookDo sauce at Big Save, a box of Ziploc bags at Safeway, and a bunch of cilantro from the farm stand, we had a no-spend week. 3) We put $6.79 into the change/$1 bill bag for a total of $25.58 in June. 4) I also earned 1,957 Swagbucks, and will start July with a 5,000+ SB head start toward my next gift card, which I hope to earn before the end of the year. 5) We otherwise used what we had on hand for meals this week, ate all of our abundant leftovers, and didn’t throw anything away.
My photo skills . . .
  • Grateful for: I’m very fortunate and thankful that Meiling and WenYu have such mad Photoshop and Etsy skills and have helped me so much to get my shop set up. I honestly have very little idea of what I’m doing but keep plugging along, and they have been offering advise and suggestions as well as doing what they can from afar. They have promised to do more and polish things up when they are here in December, like retaking photos, arranging the site, and other tasks to make sure everything looks good and gets sold.
. . . versus Meiling’s. She makes everything look better.
  • Bonus question: What’s your biggest personal concern these days? Besides eating right and exercising, skin care is at the top of my list. Because we live in such an intensely sunny place (most of the time), Brett and I are near fanatical about the amount of sun exposure we get. Brett’s skin tans easily, and besides our occasional trips to the beach he lays out in the yard to sunbathe from time to time, but always with sunscreen (SPF 55). I have very, very fair skin, and will not venture out into the sun without buckets of sunscreen, a hat, and an umbrella to provide shade. My daily moisturizer contains sunscreen (SPF 50) even if I’m spending the day indoors. We are proactive about protecting our skin, getting annual skin checks, walking later in the day when the sun is not as dangerous, and just generally staying out of direct sun as much as possible while still allowing ourselves to enjoy the light and warmth. I got horrible, really awful sunburns when I was young, when we didn’t know about the dangers of sunbathing and I am at high risk for skin cancers and melanoma. Back then I would slather myself with cocoa butter, baby oil, or Bain de Soleil (remember that orange grease?) and then lay out and fry myself for hours because we weren’t warned about the sun’s danger to skin, let alone wrinkling and other side effects. Growing up in Southern California I got almost constant sun exposure anyway, and have the wrinkles, spots, and freckles to prove it, but thankfully I have so far been spared any major sun damage other than three small questionable spots on my arms that were taken off. Knock on wood that will be all.

I am enjoying summer this year: trips to the beach, fires in the evening, s’mores for dessert now and again. I don’t remember much about this time last year other than we were still trying to set up housekeeping and waiting for our shipment to arrive. We’d recently discovered Kukuiolono Park & Golf Course though, a great, safe venue for walking and to get us out of the apartment every day, but still mostly felt disjointed and unsettled. The virus was raging and we didn’t go much of anywhere else or want to really. Almost every place on the island was closed anyway, the beach was off limits, and the farmers’ market hadn’t started back yet. Brett and I are enjoying being on our own these days, but miss our kids and grandkids, and are feeling restless and excited about our future plans, from Christmas to our travels next year and beyond. Life is good.

That’s a wrap for this week. Although it was exhausting and even painful at times it was a productive one overall and we had a good time. I’m looking forward to segueing into July this coming week and getting even more done. Here’s to another good week overall coming up!

16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 6/27/2021: It’s An Etsy Life

  1. Wow. That’s a big job. And a lot of stuff. They are gorgeous and I can see how they are addictive to collect. I was tempted to buy so many when I was in Japan last year, but really I knew I would never use them. So I only bought a set of four. And we’ve hardly used them. Mr S won’t use chop sticks. And even if we all did, we just lay the chopsticks against the bowl.

    Good thing you don’t ship to Australia, or I’d be wasting my money buying things I don’t need. I love the flat ones – like little painted indented buttons.


    1. Getting these hashioki photographed and listed has turned into a massive job. I try to get six or seven sets done a day, and I am finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They’re still all over the place, but the sofa is cleaned off, and we’ll get our coffee table back tomorrow. There’s always something to do though.

      I could ship to Australia LOL although the postage would probably eat up anything I make off of them. I have never used them even when we do use chopsticks, and have never seen them used at our son’s home. They were a very fun thing to collect though.


      1. Just talking collectables with Mr S. At least the hashioki are little and easy to pack. I can see how they are moor-ish, as in wanting more and more.


  2. Oh, forgot to write. You’ve done an awesome job listing them all. Great photos and layout of the little things. Like how the ducks are in a circle, all looking at each other.


  3. So exciting to get your Etsy shop up & running! And, it sounds like a tremendous amount of work as well, but it will be worth it when the sales start rolling in. I’m not a collector of things, so I’m very supportive of getting rid of things that have been boxed for 20 years. 😉

    I found myself really struggling to get back into the groove, post-vacation. But, life did not wait for me, so I got a bunch done during the work week & will finish up some lingering tasks on Monday. Then we head to the beach for one final hurrah & to clear everything out. We close in just over a week. It’s very bittersweet.


    1. It is turning out to be real work, at least for now – I can’t believe how busy this has kept me for the last week, and how exhausted I’ve felt at the end of the day. Once I get everything up, get my shipping supplies organized, etc. I think it will cause less stress.

      I can imagine how bittersweet it will be for you, but at the same time a relief. You’ve made lots of memories at that home, and those you get to keep forever. Hope you have a wonderful final visit!


  4. So many gorgeous things in your shop. It must be hard letting go but think it is a smart move tackling these smaller fiddly things now rather than closer to departure date. I love the ducks, the origami cranes and the rabbits. Truthfully I love most of them. I hope you are able to make a decent return from letting go of something that you enjoyed collecting.


    1. Thank you, Vicky. I thought it would be difficult letting these things go, but it’s not which tells me I am more than ready to let them go. I’ve already had four sales, and lots of visitors, so fingers are crossed. I’ll offer sales from time to time which should help, and I also have 18+ months to sell these things as well.


  5. Just got back from my beach conference. My house is a wreck. I am working on shredding paper


    1. Cindy – I can’t even begin to tell you how much we shredded before we moved over to Hawaii. What a nightmare – it’s more work than many imagine, even with a good shredder.

      I hope you had a good time at the beach!


  6. Well, I had never even heard of these, and I really like them! But I have a similar situation with old salt and pepper shaker sets! I still love them, want more, but I just can’t and I realize that. You are ahead of me as far as sorting and preparing to sell. Good for you!


    1. Hashioki are very collectible and very addicting as well. Anything shape or thing can be made into a hashioki. They were very inexpensive during our first tour, with the most expensive one I bought about $2.50. Most were priced between 50 cents and a dollar. They were about the only thing I could afford to collect. These days hashioki start at $4 and go up from there, so I rarely buy. My friend that got me hooked told me to pick ones with blue in them to limit the choices otherwise it could get overwhelming. It was good advice.


  7. Beautiful Etsy store and collections. I’m sure you have many, many memories of these and when/where you got them. I hope you make some nice money for travel.

    I loved Unorthodox. Have you watched Shtisel? I’ve seen previews and reviews and thought I might like it after Unorthodox.

    I’m reading Hidden Valley Road, the true story of a family where six of their twelve children ended up with schizophrenia. The story of their family is interspersed with the treatment research and history of the disease. Quite compelling but not particularly uplifting.


    1. Thanks, Laurel! I’ve had a good response so far, and four orders – I’ve will have money hitting my savings account this week!

      Unorthodox was beautiful. I actually felt very sorry and sad for Yanky at the end. He was as trapped as Esty, although in a different way. We’re on to a new British detective procedural now – so far so good.

      The book sounds intense – I’m not sure I could get through it, although I did get through The Glass Castle which wasn’t very uplifting either.


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