Beastie Biscuits - CrawCrafts BeastiesA few of my fellow bloggers have had great success lately with solving their various conundrums (or should that be conundra?) through applying the good old principles of democratic voting.

(Thanks, Tammie – I’m totally stealing your idea!)

What’s my dilemma? Well, I was going to skip doing a Beastie calendar this year. And I was dead set on the idea, until a couple of people asked me if I was planning to make one… putting me squarely back on the fence about the whole thing!
Plan Your Life the Monster Way - CrawCrafts Beasties
So, why the no-show?

At the top of the list – AAAAARGH! They’ve always been a bit of a logistical nightmare. As you all know, the Beasties and I live on the beautiful island of Ireland. Unfortunately for us, pretty much every big online printing company is based in the UK. So we start off our order with hefty shipping charges and a non-market Sterling conversion rate… Then there’s the inevitable missed courier delivery, the 20 minutes on hold on their “helpline” only to find that they actually can’t help you, and the eventual arrival of the parcel which looks like it’s been trodden on by a particularly hefty horse. Last year I got additionally burned by a long lead time, non-delivery of the envelopes I requested and paid for (they showed up 2 months later, but only after I sent a stinker of an email to the printer’s customer service department) and two calendars which were damaged when I opened the box. So you can maybe see why I’m a little reluctant to join the line for THAT merry-go-round again!
Oooops! CrawCrafts Beasties
By giving the 2018 calendar a miss, I was hoping to spend some quality time tracking down a good, local supplier for my 2019 relaunch. I’d love to work with someone a little closer to home, who can put a more “Beastie” stamp on the calendars, rather than having to plop for the best out-of-the-box template from a host of super-cheesy options. Plus it would give me a whole year to take twelve awesome, season-appropriate photos! NICE!

Of course, I am also troubled by the bigger question of whether people actually still USE calendars. I know I do, but I’m the kind of throwback who likes nothing better than popping a cassette into my tape deck and settling down to read a good, old-fashioned, made-out-of-paper book. Perhaps the rest of the world has moved on, and I should be focusing my attention on making a Beastie app instead? This is why I need your help, people!

Now, the case for the defence. I know that I have regulars out there who, once the leaves start to turn and Christmas music is blaring from every shop door, come looking for Beastie calendars. And yes, I am worried that they’ll be disappointed by my (albeit brief) hiatus from distributing timekeeping materials.

I also like the fact that the calendar is a more affordable Beastie product – think about it, you get 12 Beasties for under €15! You wouldn’t even have got a bargain like that at my first market, when I had no clue about pricing! Plus, there’s a bit of a warm fuzzy aspect to them as well – I send these pictures out into the world, where they end up in homes all over the globe. How cool is that? And people use them to make plans, organise their activities and keep track of the big days in their own lives, plus those of their families and friends, for a whole year! I also like to imagine that at least a few of these good folks look forward to turning the page at the beginning of the month to see which Beastie is there waiting to greet them.
Calendar Time! CrawCrafts Beasties
So, there you have it… And now it’s your call! What should I do next? Your polling card is here:

(If you’re viewing this post in Reader, you may need to switch to the full website to see it)

Now, do your worst! And please feel free to share any other thoughts or suggestions you have in the comments! Thank you in advance… the polls close at midnight GMT this Sunday night (that’s the 17th) and the results will be announced in next week’s post. See you then!

 

28 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions… Can you help?

  1. I still use a calendar and I’d but a Beastie calendar but that printing process does sound like a nightmare. If you take the time to find a better, closer place and establish a relationship with a more amenable printer, you could start offering other printed things, like notecards.

    1. Oh Mandy, great idea! I used to love drawing cards for birthdays and other occasions, but I never have the time to do it any more… Especially around Christmas. πŸ˜† Getting back into it and bring able to print them would be amazing! You’re making a strong case for hunting down a decent local printer!

  2. I agree with Mandy on this one–calendars are awesome and the Beasties certainly deserve one . . . but if you can find a local printer, your options will likely be greater for ALL things Beastie in the future. You know we all support you either way! Do what you feel, Helen!!

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Melissa… And for your support, as always! This looks like we have another vote for looking into printed Beastie goodies… I’m actually already excited by the possibilities here! πŸ˜€

  3. I also agree with above stated opinions! Your mere description of the current printing and ordering process had me breaking out in stress hives. I think that once you accept your decision to take your time and revamp the process, you will feel relieved and newly inspired. Plus (fingers crossed!) you will have a product you are happier with in the end. And yeah, paper calendars alllll the way until the end of time amen. Good luck!!!

    1. Yesssssss! Let me shake you by the hand, fellow throwback! And thank you for your wise counsel… All this talk has me so fired up to begin the quest for my fairytale handsome prints (see what I did there?) right freakin’ now! Cheers, Ms Weekes! πŸ˜€

      1. Pfffftttt just lol’ed at my desk at that pun. GENIUS. Can’t wait to see what you find. I know there just must be some funky and fabulous independent printers in fair Dublin who would love to work with you!

        1. Ha! Consider it revenge for all the times I’ve nearly choked on my breakfast tea laughing at your blog! The quest for the printer of my dreams has already begun in earnest… I’ll keep you all posted! πŸ˜€

  4. Whilst you sort out a printer, you could do a ‘beastie of the month’ picture on the blog in 2018, then anyone who wants a calendar can print it out along with that month’s calendar page in whatever format they like (eg from timeanddate.com) and hey presto, a beastie calendar.

    1. Dr Snail, you are an absolute genius! This is the perfect way to bridge the calendar gap, and I would never have thought of it myself! Thank you so much… I’ve already written it down and I’m making plans for which Beasties will best fit each month as we speak. Gosh, I’m so glad I asked everybody for help on this one! πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Mrs P! You’re in good company, it does look like that’s the way the popular vote is turning. Cheers for stopping by and having your say! πŸ˜€

  5. I voted to skip and spend the time focusing on what you could do in the way of Beastie merch for 2019. I definitely still use a calendar. I don’t use any digital organisation tools – no calendar or planner – because I am a visual-spatial person and writing it by hand onto a page of paper drills things into my memory. I have a large wall calendar that my husband and kids regard as an extension of my brain. That said, I am not sure how representative I am as a consumer as most people I know don’t have wall calendars any more.

    1. Yes, that’s why I thought I’d ask! My whole family are calendar people too, so I wonder if it maybe links into the way your brain works… We’re all “hands on” in some way, and digital just doesn’t cut it! I’m also getting really into this idea of Beastie merch – it opens up a heap of new possibilities. Exciting! πŸ˜€ Cheers for getting involved, Laura!

  6. Look like since you’ve stolen my idea of putting big decisions onto other peoples’ shoulders, I’ll have to put in my two cents. I have a few thoughts on this (which is making it REALLY hard to vote). If you’re absolutely dreading doing one. Don’t do it. The world won’t end (although it will be a little sadder). Although, since I really like my calendar (and use it like crazy…you know me and my planning), I’d love it if you did one again this year.

    That said, I would consider putting the printer hunt on your own calendar for next year when things aren’t so busy for you (what else are you going to do in mid-January?).

    But wait, didn’t I just tell you to make a calendar? Yes I did. And here’s what i would suggest…

    I would make a PDF file calendar (I think you can do one fairly easy in Word or Pages or a graphics program it would just take a little tinkering to get the page orientations right), then offer the PDF for sale through your website’s store or Etsy (since they allow digital downloads). Calendar-loving customers can then send the file to a printer near them and have it bound like the 2017 calendar or slip the individual pages into a binder. Customers could also print the pages at home if they have a color printer.

    You do risk some people making like 50 copies of them, but I think the risk would be really low (make sure to put copyright info somewhere on the calendar, many printers will honor this, or at least question it). When people order, you could include recommendations for paper type (weight, color, gloss, etc). I think this route could save you tons of leg work (or finger work if doing online searches) but yet still make your calendar lovers happy. And you wouldn’t have to pay a printer upfront for the calendars (and risk ending up with dozens left over!).

    1. I am so glad I decided to pick the collective brains of my readers… You really are a bunch of fantastically clever, inventive people! I’ll definitely look into doing this – and even if I can’t get the PDF download side to play ball, I can still use the Word calendar grid to complement The Snail of Happiness’s idea of a monthly Beastie printable. Pure printed perfection! Just to warn you though – you MAY have just volunteered to be the emergency helpline for my PDF-wrangling woes! 😁😁😁
      PS I’m so glad you’re getting good mileage out of your calendar! I was so sure Finn was going to hijack it to keep track of his adventures and book club meetings!

      1. Since he has trouble holding a pen, that hasn’t been a problem. The problem comes when he expects me to remember he had an appointment “somewhere” at “some time.” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™„ As for the PDFs, if you can make your calendar as a Word document, you’ll have no problem. Somewhere under the Save As thingie there should be an option to save as PDF (I haven’t used the latest version of Word, so I hope this is still true). Select that, set it to have a print-worthy resolution and voila! You have a PDF. I’ll try to advise as well as possible (which may not be much πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹)!

        1. Aaaah, Finn! You know, if he can’t remember what he’s supposed to be doing, where it is or what time it’s at, he probably doesn’t really want to go… Thanks for your advice, I just started a free trial of new Word, so I’ll have a poke around it in the next few days and make sure they haven’t nixed the “save as PDF” option. I can’t see why they would… But in a world where they’re considering discontinuing MS Paint, anything is possible! Thank you, Tammie! 😁

  7. I’m with everyone else on that topic. I’m sure all the mentioned problems would definitely keep ME from making a calendar.

    So if you are doing some old fashioned postcards let us know I would love to get some!

    1. Thanks, Ivonne! And yes, last year’s calendar really was a bit of a pain! I’m loving the idea of more Beasties in print for the coming year though, and your suggestion of postcards really struck a chord. I always pick up a few postcards when I travel, and packs of postcards or notelets that could be sent to friends or put up on the wall would be awesome!

      1. Definitely! The beasties could have little speech bubbles with funny messages, too. (I’m not sure if available in Ireland but I have ordered quite a few cards from zazzle.com. The cards are a nice quality (thicker cardboard) and the price is quite ok, too. But like I said I’m not sure where they are located and what shipping would cost.)

        1. Oooh, good tip! I just checked them out, and they have a UK site! Veeeeery nice! I might investigate a little more closely and see what they can do for me… Thanks, Ivonne! πŸ˜€

  8. Vote casted! And to be sure, I echo the sentiment of the commenters above: taking the time to find a good local printer will definitely be worth it, even if it means skipping a year of calendars (the current process sounds absolutely horrendous. Good on you, though, for getting those envelopes! But receiving damaged goods is downright disappointing!). As you know, I support and understand slow-going things, and scheduling tools are no exception! And yes, I still use good old paper calendars to plan my days – without them, my life would turn into a mish-mash of unfinished projects and missed appointments! They are absolutely indispensable. I’m loving the ideas, above, of making notecards and postcards – another lovely way to share the Beastie joy with more people. πŸ™‚

    1. Yay! Thanks for voting, Shirley, and for your feedback… It definitely seems like the humble calendar is still going strong! I’d be lost without mine too… And my diary as well. Perhaps I need more organising than most! πŸ˜‚ I’m loving all the great ideas for paper products that are coming in… I actually can’t wait to start seeing smiling Beastie faces on a whole raft of stationery items! Enjoy your weekend πŸ˜€

      1. I’m with you on needing more organizing, ha! And well-made and beautiful organizational/paper supplies are among my favourite things. Beastie stationery sounds delightful! You, too – have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

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