Leaving her trucking career last year left Judy Sims at loose ends. So, she decided to occupy herself by cleaning her home in Payson from bottom to top. In the process she came across an old floppy disk.
She stuck it in the computer and discovered a book she had started writing on ceramic molds. In another part of her life she had been a ceramicist and even had a ceramics business.
Reading through it, she said she felt it would be worth trying to sell on the Internet. Sims offered her booklet on e-Bay and had surprising success with it.
She put together two more ceramic booklets, one focusing on ceramic pouring and designing a home shop for the craft, the other was on making a master block for mass production of ceramics.
Her success with sales on e-Bay prompted her to create her own site, www.judysbookshop.com on which to market her books. Sims looked at a variety of products that offered instruction on how to design Web sites, but she decided to teach herself instead.
"I studied Google and e-Bay," she said. Sims started her site in September and it began to grow.
"I feel it's time to share my knowledge in any possible way," she said.
Going beyond her ceramics booklets, she added information about crafting business; restoration work; household tips and savings; home schooling; and single parenting.
In addition to the information on the topics, Sims created bulletin boards for each topic where readers can exchange knowledge and tips or seek answers. She has also included articles she wrote for a Christian Web site and a "dreams and visions" selection.
Now the site includes a Payson bulletin board, too.
"When I went searching for a private bulletin board for the Payson area, I found the closest available was for Phoenix. For that reason, I decided to add a bulletin board just for the Payson area."
Doing her initial research on building Web sites, Sims looked into which key words drew the most activity. She said "shopping" is the biggest draw "So I started thinking about how I could tie into that."
The result: she is now constructing an Internet store.
"My goal is to create the biggest site on the Internet," Sims said. She hopes to have her store accessible this week.
To find all of Sims' "internet interprise" visit www.judysbookshop.com.
While most of her time is devoted to writing and researching for the Web site, Sims has other activities that keep her busy.
She and her family run the Tonto Basin Inn. Sims is still working in ceramics, too.
"I don't think I am going to go back into the business, but I might," she said.
Her ceramics work, for now, is limited to restoration.
Through her site, a woman in Biloxi, Miss. asked her to restore a fountain. She and her children had found the broken pieces of it in their yard.
"I think it's Italian," Sims said. "It's really beautiful and they were really lucky to find all the pieces."
The fountain work is the first restoration she has done in years, she said.
She has done larger restorations in the past. Sims worked with large religious statues for a women's home in El Paso, Texas about 10 years ago.
"They were life-size Nativity pieces," she said. The nuns who commissioned her told her they were a gift to some high-ranking official's daughter, made in Spain and shipped to Mexico. Just before the Mexican Revolution the official sent his daughter, her belongings and the nuns who were caring for her to El Paso.
Age and flooding damaged the wood sculptures so much that the ceramic cover and paint were all that were holding them together. The nuns tried to send the works back to Mexico, but their offer was refused. They next offered them to the Catholic Church and were again refused.
Sims was called in and went to work. She said she had to shoot resin into the sculptures because the natural glue had all but disappeared over the years. Once the basic structures were stabilized she began the actual restoration work.
She was called back to do the same work on several other pieces.
To learn more about judysbookshop.com or her restoration work, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.