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.
I have listed two new paintings on Etsy. European scenes, acrylic, big ones. And there is a sale scheduled there (Feb. 4-14) but it is now effectively not only over, but there’s a weird issue with my Etsy shop by the end of that sale that’s led to it being shut down / suspended for a few days. I should have it back up very soon though. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel
While no ‘Valentines Sale’ is technically planned for itch.IO, I will be actively discounting everything for the recently announced ‘Lunar New Year sale’ which spans a week that includes Valentine’s Day and begins Feb. 8. I will use that sale to support people around the world who are in need, eg this one focuses on charitable donations, and I give a lot of what is raised to those who need the money more than I do. Take a look at that sale here: https://itch.io/s/45319/93-off-sale-2000-assets-for-097
A final note – as some sort of apology for anyone who had issues with the sale on Etsy… I will be running more sales in the future for St. Patrick’s Day 2021 [From Mar. 10 to Mar. 17] and Easter 2021. [April 2 – 8] and will be careful not to mess those up.
There’ll be new content posted on both Etsy and Itch.IO by then too.
-an early release version of Panoramic Worlds and more material on the ‘minigames’ page, plus a bit of new stock media added to existing collections, on itch.IO
-Some new artworks beyond these recently revealed ones, plus some new print products, including the miniature papercraft efforts mentioned earlier.
-Also, expect a reviving of my eBay shop by early April if all this goes well. I might also be revealing more of a weird side project of mine then, too [Redeemer historic church tour in 3d] potentially.
ONE MORE TIME: Remember that the Itch.IO sale, at the time of this post update, has less than 32 hours left. If you want to support my continuing work, and help people in need as well, while getting an amazing bargain along with that, it’s about as good a chance as you’ll ever see here.
All of my SALE content online – INCLUDING NEW 3d ASSETS – ARE ABOUT TO BE DISCOUNTED TWICE! First, LAbor Day WEEKEND, Sept. 4-7, 2020! And again WITH THE SAME GREAT DEALS for Halloween 2020, Oct. 29-31!
https://matthornb.itch.io/ – On Labor Day weekend, from September 4th to 7th, I’ll offer 50% off all my [already underpriced] stock media asset packs, and 90% off all of them in a single bundle! So for just $1, you can get 1600+ seamless tiling texture maps, 160+ video VFX elements, 120+ 3d assets! More now there than ever before – I’ll be posting an added 20+ 3d objects, in both FBX & OBJ formats, and 100 new texture maps across all those collections, between now and Sept. 1, 2020. This is the single best part of the Labor Day sale. But there are other cool things going on sale then, and the deal will repeat for Halloween 2020 as well, about 45 days later. There’s a ton of amazing stock media here… and it can save you a ton of work if you’re an indie game dev, or a video creator or some other type of digital / 3d or VFX artist.
This site shop,HornbostelProductions.com– I’m offering a staggering 15% discount across the shop for those two huge sales timeframes. This is in addition to all the other discounts available for loyal customers. Pretty much any customized art variant you might want is available, but not just personalized artworks – I also have stock media DVDs and other amazing deals, including made-to-order game levels! (Not joking at all, this is great for those of you who have zero skill in 3d art – this is an offshoot of another thing I’m doing at CrowdsourcedAdventure.com and you may want to give it a look. You can place an order for a 3d level / gameworld made to order – you provide your ideas, I sculpt them into 3d content, and together we’ll form a beautiful finished 3d environment that is explorable, and which I’ll ship directly to you! This, like the personalized handmade art listings, could make a memorable gift for any significant occasion!)
My Etsy Shop [Handmade, handcrafted acrylic paintings at really low pricing!] The items I’ve listed on Etsy are going to include more than half a dozen new paintings, added in the weeks leading up to the first sale, and all the old art items will be discounted 20% throughout the sale, new ones by 10%. When the sale ends, I’ll take the unsold old items and auction them off on eBay. Unfortunately, a lot of my eBay buyers are still seemingly unaware that almost everything I sell on eBay I also sell cheaper elsewhere. (Not their fault, really – eBay doesn’t allow outbound URLs so many people who find me via eBay never realize most of my stuff isn’t sold there and what is there is more expensive lately.) Generally, I can, for fee reasons, offer the best possible prices on my own shop (here on HornbostelProductions) or with digital-only shops (Itch.IO) but there’s usually 7% higher pricing on Etsy, and almost 20% higher on eBay, largely because of all the fees involved on those platforms.
My eBay shop– I won’t mince words. I saw a fiasco earlier this year, way more so than anything on Etsy. A wave of Q1 2020 buyers – arguably, scammers – took advantage of my defective and far too trusting refund policy that allowed full refunds on sold items, including high-value ones ‘for any reason’ without photographic evidence of any actual item damage, or any evidence of claimed loss or misdelivery. Once a wave of items sold and had to mostly be refunded due to certain buyers’ greed, I found myself in a position where I genuinely did not have the cash on hand to ship out the second wave of legitimate orders that followed in any sort of remotely timely manner. Worse, as delays have mounted the amount of additional swag sent as my apology to each of those poor irritated long-suffering honest buyers has climbed. As of August 2020, the last of these delayed legitimate orders are finally being resolved, with full refunds being sent out plus extra and also the items requested being shipped with extras included. I will be shipping out the last packages [plus some extra stuff & a full refund] to each and every one of them, by August 25, 2020. My successful clearing of the order backlog coincides with the launch of some new eBay listings finally, and unfortunately a less lenient refund policy and slightly higher pricing in the future. I wasn’t convinced to do this by the fact that I made hundreds of sales over half a decade with no profit in all that time. Rather, the final straw was seeing my ability to provide good customer service to decent customers, being dragged down by my lack of any sort of emergency reserves. Being able to deliver all of what I promised to all of you, at a price that’s really reasonable, is important to me. And this mess on eBay was a disaster in that [delivery and customer service] regard. And I am genuinely sorry about that.
The eBay incident caused immense damage to my reputation as a seller and to my own financial status, not to mention months’ worth of delays inflicted on my indie game project ‘Miniature Multiverse’ due to the hundreds of dollars I’ve lost there in 2020. I will continue to emphasize that eBay seller fees mean that eBay items are always going to cost more than the equivalents on any other storefront I’ve got. Plus, from here on out, refunds will require photographic evidence or tracking data showing the package was not delivered successfully. And you know what, you might opt to choose eBay anyway and still pay the premium instead of buying stock media on itch, or art on HornbostelProductions because my eBay account has run longer and has ‘social proof’ insofar as there are 387 positive ratings [100% positive still, like on Etsy, despite my enormous missteps in 2020] on my account there. But eBay is now the weakest choice available for my products and I want to remind everyone of that. You’d be generally smarter to buy my content anywhere else.
Some of you may have noticed a problem with my eBay shop lately. Things are taking longer to deliver. Orders do, in some cases, take weeks to fulfill.
That has much to do with my bare-bones financial condition. I’ve made a lot of artworks and am shipping them as soon as I can, but even so the delays continue to escalate as some customers have requested and been given, refunds. Note that even in these cases I still will fulfill their orders, it’s kind of important to me even if it makes zero difference to eBay, but… the last two weeks I’ve been scraping through huge piles of sub-minimum wage tasks in an aim to finish shipping all delayed orders. My losses [all factors considered] on eBay in the past 40 days are in excess of $70 which makes me a rather godawful excuse for a business person but maybe not a truly horrendous ‘person’ person?
I’ve been doing a ton of stuff on mTurk and other places, every gig I can grab, at $2-3 per hour, including low-end tasks I’d normally not touch, in an effort to stabilize things and resolve complaints from customers, complaints that have piled up badly.
You need to know that I’m working on it, working very hard to shovel my way out of the broken mess I’m now stuck in. Much of that low wage work’s already done, I do see some delays/lag as likely though as the tasks are still being approved and shifted out to a usable form of money. But I’ve earned $10+ daily doing that and it seems to be piling up faster than the refunds are going out. So sending refunds *and* shipping all of the ordered items, should be viable in the next week at most.
Upsides: my Itch.IO profile has seen a gradual climb in sales even despite total absence of reviews from buyers there. Even comments here and there would be enormously impactful FYI, the only feedback I have ever gotten was a comment on one Itch stock-media pack that said the collection was a great deal. Which explains why that one pack is accounting for about 60% of all my sales on Itch!
Also, I’ve made a second sale on Etsy, so it seems that is going well and I’m posting three new artworks soon, later than I’d aimed to, but still… they will be posted.
Here’s the item that was sold. I’m still posting more and more art there as time passes. I expect the total number of available listed items to be around 25 by the end of February:
Likewise, I’m nearly done setting up an overhauled version of TriumphantArtists.com and will switch everything over to the new web design in another day or so. It’s better in terms of navigation, clean style, and flexible [responsive] formatting. The pages, in general, load faster too!
As usual though, don’t expect the changes to necessarily show up in your browser without hitting refresh. My advice, go to the main page at TriumphantArtists.com next week, hit refresh, and, err, feel refreshed I guess by how the site looks after that point? I expect the switch over will be in effect by Feb. 15 and may become visible worldwide over the following 48 hrs. so some cool things should result from that.
“Pirate video” – I’m making a little video short for the nephews’ birthday, putting an hour or so a day into that on top of everything else. It includes some pretty awesome VFX shots. That’s just another reminder of what I can do with videos and visual effects!
Final note – I know everybody’s so, so tired of waiting for something to happen with Miniature Multiverse. I have completed the first part of the game’s design, 100%, with other sections of the game in varying stages of completion. Now I’ve opted to release a ‘partial version’ with the later areas all stripped out temporarily, and post that as a downloadable on Itch.IO with added sections posted every two months afterwards as long as it is still selling (if it sells much at all really, which given the nature of indie game dev, is unclear.) So that is the first fifth of the game which will be posted on Feb. 24th, along with the corresponding sections of the making-of PDF for ‘Extras’ buyers. So yeah, a lot is going on right now. I’m working every waking hour on something creative or earnings related [or both] lately and wouldn’t have things be any other way.
Items such as the kitten artwork [colored pencil, faved a lot on Etsy but not bought by anyone there] and the Easter chick sold, so it seems my depictions of animals were well received as usual.
I’ve also sold a spectacularly large item on eBay, made to order for a customer there.
That was a colossal 5′ by 8′ item on canvas, I’ve shipped it and it’s on its way to the customer. It cost them $108.
So – all told – I’m in good shape to push things beyond where they were before. I’m ordering a new GPU (video card) for my computer and will try to set that up soon. I’ve also acquired a few other smaller things that I need, and much of that is related to a virtual tour of the former Church of The Redeemer meeting location. That’s one of a handful of Unity 3d projects being developed in tandem, so any shaders, plugins, etc, used for this will also be useful elsewhere.
The Redeemer DVDs were generally very popular and the Blu Rays less so even though they look amazing on a high-def TV. 1280×720 video may not be flawless resolution but it’s well above 720×480. If you’re online asking for a copy, keep in mind that aside from a teaser for the virtual tour, pretty much everything on those discs is church service footage only of interest to the aging people who attended the church prior to 2011.
It’s not exactly a seat of your pants, high octane thriller.
But – it may well lead to some exciting videos making it online, ones that are shorter but way cooler looking and faster-paced, than a church service.
Right now I’m slashing prices on all of my Etsy listings by 20-35% (until May 10) so that’s worth a look. The eBay listings also have mostly dropped by 5-10% as sales there have slowed down slightly lately. A lot of that kind of stuff ebbs and flows. Sometimes I see 3 or 4 people all commission unique artworks in a single week, other times I can go a month with nothing much selling. So it’s hardly consistent and right now I’m expecting a boost in activity, partly due to the sales and reduced pricing, and partly because I have launched a bit of advertising this week. So if you like an item I made, that you see on Etsy, buy it before it sells to someone else.
If you’re at all interested, over the next week I am about to start posting a batch of new listings on Etsy and ArtFire. Just FYI, there have been a number of people with bad experiences selling & buying on these platforms, so if something goes wrong and, for example, one of these shops runs into a glitch or the shop suddenly shuts down for no good reason, just know it’s the platform’s decision and their screw-up, not mine. I’ll do my best to handle my shops here with integrity but realistically there are some things I cannot control, like the other sellers [who may cheat you in some cases, or sell shoddy knock-off items that are mass produced in China and not really artful or ‘handmade’] and the decisions of the venue owners. So be careful to buy carefully from vendors within these markets who you know have some sort of good track record – either positive ratings right there or elsewhere. In my case? I do not yet have a clear track record on these shops but I DO HAVE A SOLID 170+ RATINGS ON eBay. And they’re all positive, 100% of them.
You should expect similar outcomes on my other shops, great items, inexpensively priced, with good customer service. And if I do somehow screw up, and overlook something, I’ll do what I can to rectify the mistake. This – delays in shipping or other screw-ups – can happen once in a while due not to malicious intent but simply because I am busy with many customers and things occasionally fall through the cracks.
I have actually been rated negatively on eBay a handful of times but in each case I managed to resolve the complaints involved. I ended up refunding the sale amount, apologizing profusely for the late/damaged item which had trouble in the shipping process… or in one case an item was not quite what the customer was looking for visually. All of these were issues I did try my best to resolve and on these rare occasions, the customers ended up retracting their negative ratings of my shop, usually replacing them with positive ones. The same willingness to exceed customer expectations, and resolve problems even if it means I lose money on the sale, will apply on every shop I run, whether it’s Etsy or ArtFire or eBay or my own shop here on this website.
I am also aiming to post new stuff on my own shop the week after that. This should include some really cool things that I’ve put a ton of work into. Watch for that. Oh – and by the way – there are a couple of amazing eBay auction this week too and they end in a couple of days.
They’re for custom made to order art and the opening bids are under $3 on both listings. You might want to jump in on that!
UPDATE: eBay auctions relisted and the first of the new art items has been posted on Etsy.
Recapping the recent events of February 2017, just the last month, to remind everyone that despite appearances, a lot of updates do actually happen on my web network if you keep looking:
-eBay auctions with low starting bids continue. Look at these three in particular, especially the top two as they’ve gotten relatively few views so far compared to the third but are nonetheless impressive value:
-The new batch of polls continue to go largely ignored by website visitors. I’ve gotten *hundreds* of visitors to my websites in the past week, over 700 actually, but the polling page seems to be a bit hard for them to find for whatever reason. It’s a shame, too, given the amazing opportunity for the few who actually take a look at that page.
-Membership options just launched. There are some stupendous perks to being a subscriber and signing up for a Premium Membership status here.
The most obvious is free shipping while a member and 15% or more off all HornbostelProductions.com store items. You could get some great bargains on handmade art doing that right now. $4.99/year for 15% or more off everything, and a list of other extras. Really reasonable.
-Ground work laid for some big stuff updated in the next 30 days. As in, major news related to ‘Spiral Skies’, release of House Trek content, and a new batch of HD stock footage, as well as more comics stuff, finally a new vlog entry, and continued expansion of the articles section with even more valuable information. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and it’ll be publically revealed over time.
-That goofball auction of five hours of my time. Nobody bid, but I am not really surprised given the brevity of the auction. It was kind of an experiment and it failed. Time to move on. Maybe I’ll try that idea again later on with a longer build up beforehand.
-The Vineyard Video Leisure Group is now moving closer to fruition. I posted a teaser image for it just this evening. [See previous post]
Two more artworks (one from 2015 and one from 2016) were just posted on the Still Art page. More archived stuff will be uploaded later tonight, plus a couple of alternate sorting methods will be set up soon beyond the current chronological method [images will be sortable by art medium, and by size]
If the Still Art page looks really screwed up briefly at some point around 11 pm to midnight, that’s because that’s when the HTML and JS stuff is being actively changed.
Also, three auctions just posted on my eBay shop, all priced under $4 for the opening bid. Haven’t done actual auctions in a while so I figured now was a good time for that. Check that out!
Incidentally, I’ve just ordered some new art supply materials. More pastel pencils, and a few other things. I’m ready for the next wave of orders.