The weather keeps messing up our plans. We’d considered a possible garage sale on October 9th, or 16th, in Cranberry, PA at my grandmother’s home on Wildwood Road.
But… looks like a forecast of rain keeps hitting us on every Saturday. At the rate things are going, the next credible timeframe for this is October 30th [the 23rd is looking likely too busy for us, and if we’re set on a Saturday it would be then at the earliest.]
Please – if you’re curious about any of this – bookmark this page and I’ll try to keep it up to date as we figure out what we’re able to do.
The upside of this: More artworks, plants, and other items will be available at this sale when this finally does happen, and things will be better prepared in other ways as well. I also will be able to make a box of freebies available there. Little stuff, mostly, one of each item per visitor. Stickers, booklets, and other such things in a stack of smallish packets. Maybe other surprises in some of them?
Downside: All the uncertainty definitely does keep this a bit confusing. And it may be cold by the late October or possible early November timeframe. So… dress warmly!
In the meantime – check the post below this one for more pics from a past similar event , and a gallery of artworks on sale – plus the link to the Etsy shop which you can visit basically at any time, even if you do miss this garage sale!
The Etsy Labor Day sale was not super successful. Indeed, the data-recovery efforts mentioned earlier – getting new external hard drive storage media and downloading cloud backup files back to local storage where they can again be used… plus some other assorted work, costs and issues resulted in delayed payment of a few bills and certain things going down visibly, including the Etsy shop itself for a few days post-sale, and the website MiniatureMultiverse.com which hit its expiry date but was still well within the ten-day grace period when I renewed the domain. Both bills have since been covered and things have indeed stabilized around here.
While customers online have continued to buy things at a gradually growing rate, the really key thing here has been the support of family and in-person connections. I am being paid by my sister Katie to do videography at her upcoming wedding, for example, and am assisting my dad with illustrations on his workbook (a church small-group workbook he’s putting together based on the Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, I’ll show some of that later…) and all of that I’ve been really trying to do well. I’ll show more of that material soon. In practice, that means over $300 made in the past week between those things and a few sales online.
I’m even doing 3d-animated menu stuff for Katie’s wedding DVD and BluRay, based on what her wedding and reception sites look like:
It’s not enough pay to be outright transformative, but it absolutely did get things back on track a bit and it did allow me to cover some new stuff which will result in some things moving forward a bit more. I’m optimistic now, for example, that the stock-media packs I’d planned will be available by Halloween 2021, along with an initial launch of Panoramic Worlds. I’ll also have the first asset pack of mine on Unity’s Asset Store by then, assuming they actually have enough sense to see that it’s good, and approve it.
I am actively making more artworks, listing them on Etsy. Don’t be surprised if there are over 45 listings total on the shop by November 2021… and over 60 by the end of 2021.
That will be not just MANY paintings but also a LOT more papercraft listings showcased with some lovely new dioramas – the urban inspirations for the new sets are Venice, Paris and Amsterdam, so that gives you some sense of what’s planned by end of 2021. I may even have a couple of Greek sets up by the end of the year with both modern Greek structures and ancient Greco-Roman ruins and structures. In case you wanted to make an ancient Rome or Athens and not just stuff from the medieval or later eras. There are a bunch of mini supplies inbound largely for this purpose and a number of those materials may yet find secondary use in wrapping up the physical assembly of remaining areas in ‘Miniature Multiverse’ as well.
Basically, things are improving for me. And despite some depressing missteps a few days ago, and my opining that I might never have a career success at all given the risk of climate-change related collapse over the next 25 years, right now things are looking up. And while I still believe environmental issues could cause a massive wave of volatility and instability in the coming years, for now I’m feeling like the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 might not be terrible. I might actually have a shot at some sort of success here, and I’d love it if that meant I were able to help people struggling with lack of access to food, medicine, education, etc – all the people already on the brink in this world, who’ll face tremendous adversity as things start to unravel. These people will need our help. Nature, too, will need our help. We will have to dig deep and make sacrifices for everyone and indeed for the planet itself, if the world is to hold together in the coming crisis. And I want to believe that America and Americans can show global leadership, instead of petty tribalism, greed, short-sightedness, and self-absorption. To that end I’ve begun giving more to charitable causes this month than I was even earlier this year… raising the giving level from around 11% of my monthly budget to 23%. I want to make the world better. And I’m hoping that I can do so while also still making creative work that you all will love, at a rate that’s unprecedented. If things continue improving, there’s no reason I couldn’t continue to push my giving upwards as well, which I would love to be able to do.
If you like that idea please continue to support my work – buying on Etsy, Itch.IO, etc – and ideally also reviewing what you’ve bought. Next sales are Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and I think you’ll be excited to see what will be available during those events. Or – you know – you can also buy things quickly at full price if they show up and look interesting. Like what a recent buyer did with the lighthouse art – they saw something they liked, a one-off unique item – and they immediately grabbed it instead of waiting and running the risk somebody else would claim it.
Etsy: All original handmade artworks at 25% off Papercraft printed kits 50% off. All digital items 70% off. New items posted.
Itch.IO: Everything available at 45% off [individual asset packs] and 90% off [bundle deal]. Note that for various reasons most planned new content won’t be there at time of sale. I’ll explain that in the next paragraph.
Why some items are delayed: It’s not just the fact that attempts to bridge the buyers on Etsy and Itch.IO with a cross-incentive in August failed utterly. (They’re two very different audiences of buyers!)… or the fact that I can’t afford to shoot any new, high-quality VFX 4k stock-media elements packs just yet. No, it has more to do with a deluge of hardware issues on my desktop PC. I’ve had three external drives run into issues in the last two weeks. So that is a huge distraction. It would be heartbreaking and an utter disaster, except for the fact that it is all backed up in the cloud by this point [using Backblaze, which is an amazing service for that kind of thing.] so it’s just a matter of getting new drives as needed and downloading over 11 TB of data back onto the new hardware. I’m struggling because I am focused on that entire process and covering the new costs, and it inevitably has also stalled some projects critically dependent on files which were on those drives. If you want the new collections or anything digital of mine to move forward faster – as usual, buying things from the above shops DOES help keep my work going. There’s a tendency for many of you, an understandable one, to wait until a cool thing is done before buying it – yet somehow be unaware of the practical reality that those big projects like Panoramic Worlds or Miniature Multiverse or whatever else, are often limping slowly along and that financing them in some limited way before launch will in fact help get them wrapped up faster. Buying a thing from me does generally push me to make more like that thing you bought. So if you want more stock media, buying my existing stuff will encourage further work on that. Same with art or miniature papercraft on Etsy, or gamedev efforts, etc. One of the better ways to ‘cast a vote’ for a certain type of project is to buy my entire collection of stock media on Ko-fi for $3.95 – through my Ko-fi shop. You can choose what project type the funds support and I will put them towards creation of content within that category. Same idea also applies to website traffic but to a lesser extent; the more busy a site of mine is, the more it gets prioritized for future updates.
SO, considering THAT LOGIC – obviously we’ve got a problem:
mTurk microtasks and freelancing for others, constitute the SOLID MAJORITY of my online earnings and that pushes me to pursue those more than I’d like. Even though they result in no new creative content of mine usually visible to the public.
In distant second place, Etsy, which has gained a lot of ground over time. Third, eBay, even despite my rarely listing things there lately. And fourth – Itch.IO – indicating exactly why I’m struggling to justify gamedev and stock media as major priorities so far. Limited response to a category slows it down usually, and big success somewhere pushes that category faster. And then there’s the last-place category, ad revenue on my websites. Clearly not a ton to be gained from posting a lot of frequent website updates. Nonetheless, I am going to be pushing forward on that a bit as it seems the sites do drive some 15-20% of the activity and sales to Etsy and Itch and eBay so… in that sense, worthwhile?
And it’s not like earnings are what matter most to me. But they are needed to make better creative work and even to keep things online consistently. My websites went down for a couple of days a month ago… my Etsy shop has just gone offline as well THIS MONTH. And all of that is me scrambling to cover hosting bills, shop fee bills, etc, while also dealing with the cloud backup, local hardware issues, etc. It’s a mess and if things were to go badly it could all easily come crashing down. That’s why I’m having to prioritize some things like mTurk that in a better world, I maybe wouldn’t have to.
Not that I am starting a crowdfunding campaign or any such thing, but… I’d like to see a few of you do simple things like buy something cheap on one of the existing stores during the sales I am going to run, and also rate the item you bought fairly. Maybe leave a comment on the Itch page or an Etsy star rating or something? The more people see feedback from existing buyers, the more they’ll feel safe buying something. Which means your review of an item on my Etsy shop or Itch.IO shop might be an immense positive factor as far as funding goes and thus completion of additional content and updates. Look at what happened on Etsy. My Etsy shop ran from 2015 up to early 2019, no sales, tons of views and no sales. In late 2019 a brave person bought an item, loved it, reviewed it. That was the start and the more reviews were posted the more of the viewers and visitors on Etsy would actually buy something.
From 2015-mid 2019, 0% of visitors on my Etsy shop bought something. This is what happens when a shop has no ratings or responses or comments or any sort of engagement from the customers. My experience on Etsy was that the percentage of visitors who buy anything has gone up by 0.25% after each additional review, so far. Now that four ratings exist, it means 1% of shop visitors will buy an item. Four reviews took the monthly sales level from $0.00 to a new record of over $50 in August 2021. And that sort of thing tends to snowball once it gets moving, so I am asking YOU to look through the items I’ve listed and to find something you like, buy it, review it, and get things accelerating dramatically here.
I realize that every review dramatically increases the odds of any given visitor later on, making a purchase.
I recognize that both my Etsy and Itch shops have thousands of visitors every month now.
I recognize, finally, that if the rate of purchases increase as they have so far on Etsy, in response to reviews – that an added 10 reviews on each platform will mean an added 20-30 sales a month likely in months that follow.
So I can pretty much promise that if a few of you post reviews of things you bought, and looked at once they arrived (either digitally as downloads or as physical items) that those reviews will be transformative in my capacity to get everything moving forward faster and on a larger scale in the near future. I hope this goes well.
Heck, I almost made an offer to donate a certain sum for each review posted, to an array of charitable causes but I did the math and cannot be sure it wouldn’t cause a cascade or collapse of my entire web network. So… no specific numeric promises there but I will be donating whatever I can reasonably spare because as much pain and frustration exists in my life, and yours, there are others even worse off in the world and they do need our help. I can pledge this: If my total earned income ever somehow climbs above $7k a year, which is well above the current level, at least 50% of everything above that, will be given to others who really need it.
I’ve been trying to make things work for 20-odd years now. I’m closing in on my 35th birthday. Really hoping for a breakthrough.
(the creation of this pack will cost at least a couple hundred $ doing a wide range of various debris bursts/falls, involving a mix of different materials, different types of FX stuff, maybe some good smoky billowing cloud tank FX too if this goes well, and that budget, of $200ish which is… roughly what I have available at the moment, and the way I want to do it – bigger and better -will be about $75 -$125 above that, so any support in the form of Etsy or Itch.IO orders in the next week or so will make it possible to do this better, with an even wider range of effects elements. But it has to be roughly within the next 20 days, by Aug. 20 or so, past that point, the scope of the collection will kind of be locked in and won’t change meaningfully between then and the Sept. 1 launch. )
-a new medieval/fantasy 3d asset pack there too. Think modular castles – interiors, exteriors – smaller structures, and many different middle ages period details filling all of them. At least 20 3d assets included at first launch.
-and a scifi pack as well with SF themed 3d assets. Sort of a mix of the darker gritty cyberpunk stuff and some cleaner / glossy future designs too, plus some alien / outer space environment elements. Again, well over 20 different 3d objects/assets included from the get go.
And those three new asset packs will have very nice preview images and materials showcasing them effectively. Which they should have, given that they’re each priced around $2.50 or so.
But: despite this accumulating mass of epic-scaled asset packs closing in on a $30 combined price, and fast approaching 3000 total files across all of them, don’t assume that you won’t still be able to find great deals from me anymore during holidays! Labor Day 2021, Halloween 2021, Thanksgiving and Christmas 2021 all will have the bundle of all my itch.IO products together for over 90% off the normal cost (i.e. under $3 for everything released to date)
That – the trio of entirely new packs – is on top of some new, and fairly substantial free additions to a few of my existing asset packs, my first submission to the Unity Asset Store, about a dozen more listings on Etsy bringing the total to 30+ listings… a relaunch and redesign of several websites including HornbostelVideos, and the release of a little adventure game called ‘Panoramic Worlds‘ across multiple platforms.
Yes, a lot is going on around here.
Some new Etsy items have already been posted, in fact.
Like this painting, or a brand new second set of model buildings, which will be visible in a preview image very shortly on NScaleScenery.com! (in the next 36 hrs! with the actual sale listings across multiple model scales posted for sale on Etsy within 36hrs after that!) This is a big deal! So much has been in the works here these last few weeks and I am hoping that as the results of that effort start to go public you will be thrilled by it all! 😀
I am working on a lot of different things, but the unavoidable result of that is that each individual effort progresses more slowly. That said, here’s a breakdown of where things stand:
Microtasks. These have become higher-priority as I’ve found some work [off and on] that pays more, as in an average of $7.20/hour. And it’s work that’s available about half the time, each week so… I’ve made $400+ so far this year doing that, most of it since mid-May. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it earth-shattering, or life-changing, but rather pathetically this – minimum-wage part-time work – has a better pay rate than anything I’ve ever really landed in my life before.
Miniature papercraft. I’m updating it a bit in the next couple days with a modest amount of new material tacked onto existing listings. You’ll see more soon. And best part is I do actually have a large-format printer with fantastic print quality, it can go up to 13″ by 19″ poster size. This means my papercraft will be available in TT and HO scales soon and not just the smaller scales (T, Z, N).
3. Blood… the blood particle effects I have for free on Itch.IO just got an update. And it’s one of a number of updates showing up over the next week there. Watch for about 30-40 more assets to be added across some of my texture and 3d asset packs before the July 4th sale. WHICH IS ONLY ACTIVE FOR ONE DAY – JULY 4, 2021! DON’T FORGET IT!
Speaking of July 4 – I absolutely am working towards a gigantic sale on Etsy that will coincide with the Itch one and it’ll be good too. And though promotional efforts have been sort of modest this past month, they’re likely to be substantial starting a couple of days from now.
As in, I’ll be spending approx. $55 on ad campaigns, just between now and the end of the July 4 sale. That is, $35 over the two weeks leading up to that date and $20 on the day itself. It’s extremely likely to produce massive results based on past test runs.
Recall that in the past three years, between Etsy and Itch.IO, I’ve made over 60 individual sales worth over $500 total… almost all of them the direct result of active ad campaigns that were about $150 in all. So given that track record, I figure making over a dozen sales across these two venues in one day… July 4th… is fairly likely. This also means that some of the popular oft-viewed, oft-favorited listings on Etsy should finally sell by the end of that day. If you want them, but have been holding off… seriously, grab them now before someone else does! (Or take a chance on that, and wait until the morning of July 4th, and get the item you want then at 20% off if it happens to still be there.).
In preparation for the new sale I’ll be increasing the total listing count on Etsy to over 20 total listings, 20 different listed items. Granted, some of the new listings will be print stuff – the model railroading stuff appearing in a couple of larger scales they have not yet appeared in. But there will also be some new paintings showing up by the start of the sale.
Final notes: I am still working on both “Miniature Multiverse” and “Panoramic Worlds HD”. As for the latter – in the past month I’ve scrapped the old scene load/unload system and set up a new one with nicer loading screens, I implemented ad and ad-free versions of that loading-screen transition, did some playtesting, identified some situational bugs and fixed most of them, did a bit more graphics polishing in various spots, and in another few days will be doing further playtesting with a handful of other people (mostly close family) and will note any glitches/bugs they find, or any places that are confusing or that get them stuck. I’ll try to fix whatever issues they find, and also will post some trailer and video material on the web (Youtube, Vimeo, the PWHD website, the Itch.IO page, etc.)
Despite numerous failed deadlines, many delays and numerous bugs found and quashed, now I am still very optimistic that it’ll be out there by the time the sale hits. As in, during the week leading into the sale. Keep an eye out for that! It shouldn’t be more than 12 days off now!
Also, I’m working on a MAJOR update for HornbostelVideos.com to go live after that sale, some time in early July. Just know that that is still in the works. I want a lot more of my archived video content accessible but… still, not everything. There are basically going to be several tiers/categories of stuff for legal and other reasons.
I’m moving forward on a range of print products for sale on Etsy.
Art prints, posters, booklets, and – interestingly – papercraft miniature designs for use in model railroads and other scale models.
Related to that news, I’ve redesigned NScaleScenery.com, a long-dormant website, with a new layout and new content. Take a look at that if interested.
Some products, we’ll note, won’t be active until I have a high-quality large-format printer at home. So don’t expect big poster art or cardstock print sets above N scale until about a month or two from now.
The plan as it currently stands:
N, Z, T scale papercraft designs, the first British set anyway, will all be finalized and all listed – I’m pretty sure – within the next 48 hrs. The N scale listings already are viewable on Etsy.
I’m continuing to make some slight adjustments and these explain the occasional inconsistencies in the existing posted photos on Etsy. The clock on the ‘town hall’ building is now smaller, and not oversized. The church is being reworked to change the tower to a [more conventional looking] bell tower. And print contrast and sharpness has improved due to a few recent changes as well. Expect the showcase photos to be updated in the next day or two to reflect the last-minute improvements.
Posters and booklets are a ways off, but I can say that the booklets are VERY extensive and cover a vast range of my artworks over the past 20 years, in four volumes, and they’ll include a great deal of material not accessible to the public elsewhere. Some really cool and quirky stuff will be shown there. There was a cover design rendered in 3d for this, that incidentally is viewable and has been for some time, somewhere on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the design titled ‘The Triumphant Artist’.
Posters – I noticed that creative maps are popular on Etsy and I’m well aware that the ‘cartoony’ stylized depictions of states, cities, and the landmarks within them, are perennial print sellers. I have been developing a concept of ‘3d-rendered’ versions of those sorts of things. The first one I’m doing? Texas, as it’s a huge state with a lot in it, and it’s a place that has a sort of independent state-pride streak that few other states have. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a map graphic in 3d, complete with dozens of notable landmarks depicted in a somewhat stylized sort of 3d style, relatively prominent form all over the 3d, topographically realistic terrain. The map as a whole is very high quality, purely in pixel count terms we’re talking about a resolution of the source digital file, that is over 24k total image resolution. In other words, sharp and packed with details even though it’s covering an entire 13″ by 19″ poster surface!
More European building-set designs for papercrafters will arrive on Etsy in time for Valentine’s Day in February, potentially including some of the following:
-French city and rural buildings like those seen in Paris.
Amsterdam styled colorful buildings. And a windmill?
-Swiss Alps, architecture
-Venetian / Italian coastal town architecture
-Greek architecture as typical of places like Santorini, plus some ruins.
-Castles, with modular walls and drawbridges, of a generically Western-European sort, complete with banners and other medieval detailing.
If the miniatures sell decently out of the gate (even despite a few issues admittedly at the start) I might be able to justify expanding the product line to include HO and O scale by the end of February. I will also make an effort, in that event, to add other parts of the world beyond the European styles I’ve started this with. If you’re wondering what all this looks like, here’s one of the early diorama photos I’ve posted:
And maybe browse Etsy for cool new products this next month? There will be some interesting new things there, and yes, including a few new handmade original artworks soon as well. I haven’t given up painting!:
No, no sale for Valentine’s Day on Itch.IO – sorry. But I haven’t stopped work on the stock media or the indie game dev stuff. Far from it! Right now, in fact, I’m about to submit the first collection of my stock media content to the Unity Asset Store! And then on the game dev side, well, just know there’s a great deal going on there too, and while I failed to post much new in December-January there should be some major updates put online for all to see, by late February, including many new images, GIFs, and video content as well. There’s a ton of work going into those games but right now the public-facing focus is squarely on Etsy momentum and print products, and I’m really hoping that goes well.