Thursday, 15 March 2012

Balance


Being self employed is wonderful in lots of ways... I get to work from home, I can decide the hours I work, and most of all I am able to do something I (for the most part) enjoy every day. But it also means that I never really switch off... the laptop is never far away and I always seem to be checking my emails for orders and queries. It is so different from a 9-5 job where the hours of work and the amount of work is constant and set. When big gift and card giving occasions are approaching, such as Christmas, Valentines and Mother's Day, things get so very busy, then often tail off again once the day has passed. These last few weeks have been just that, especially in my Not on the High street shop - lots of mummies out there being given handmade and personalised cards and mirrors!


I do love to be busy, I kind of thrive on it in a way - I'm not very good at just relaxing with nothing to do.  But there has to be a balance between work and 'life' (mine are very much intertwined though I am trying to separate them!) One of my new years resolutions was to make more time to spend with Karl, with family, or just doing other things I enjoy, like reading, pottering outside, or crochet... I did well for a couple of weeks in January, and spent the evenings finishing my granny stripe, but then it got busier and it kind of went out the window!

The thing is, it is kind of silly really as I am in control and it is up to me whether my shops are live and if products are available to order. I could easily put my shops on holiday mode and not accept orders for a while to catch up on things... but I don't! I'm so incredibly grateful that people want to buy my stuff and I still get a little thrill every time an order pops into my inbox! There is part of me that just wants to cram in as many orders as I possibly can, especially as I know that some months will always be much quieter than others. I have had to turn down some commissioned work recently though, I didn't really want to but there is only so much I can take on at once.

It's not as if I am having to work through the night or anything (I really would close my shops for a bit if it came to that) but I haven't had a day off in ages and just feel tired and drained. All my energy is wrapped up in my work and it doesn't leave time for much else. When it is busy, I sometimes feel more like a factory production line rather than a designer/maker.

This post is ending up to be a bit of a moan - sorry I really didn't intend it to be!! I just struggle a bit with the inconsistency where some weeks I am so busy I am rushed off my feet and others it can feel a bit like I am twiddling my thumbs!! In the quieter weeks though, I do try and make the most of having the time, and spend it making stock, designing new products, or just catching up on some sleep!

I have actually had to take off a lot of my products this week, as my sewing machine embroidery foot broke on Tuesday and I still haven't got a replacement. It was a very stressful day as I still had lots of things to make that had to go out that afternoon in time for Mother's day but I was so amazed and overwhelmed with the support and help of all my facebook friends! I had so many people re-posting it for me on their pages, offering their suggestions, offering to post me a spare foot and some truly fab people who even offered to drive over here to help me out!! It really was so nice of everyone to rally round in such a way and I really appreciated it. It can sometimes be lonely working by yourself and to have that support network of other crafty similar people out there on blogs and facebook is great.

I think I might have to find some random pictures to put in this post, it is so text heavy! That's the trouble with never having the time to blog, when I do, I go on a big long rant! I have actually wondered whether to give up my blog... but I do really like this little space and I get so much inspiration and happiness from the blogging community, but it is just a time thing. I used to spend at least half an hour every day reading my favourite blogs and finding new ones but now I'm lucky if I find half an hour a week. Same with sites like Pinterest, Flickr, and Twitter, I rarely use them any more.

A few weeks ago, I did design a couple of new cards actually, here are some pictures to break up the text a little! The first one is a new home card...


and also a wedding card...


...embellished with lace, beads and sequins. This one is quite different to my usual style, probably because the colours are so muted. I have quite a lot of lace, ribbon and more neutral coloured fabrics that I collected a few years ago now, and they are just crying out to be used for wedding-y products. It's quite nice to work with a different colour range once in a while actually.

So anyway as I said before, I have taken all of my personalised products off this week, and will probably leave them off for a little bit, as I have some commissioned work to do and then  next weekend, I am going to visit my parents for a week! My sister Harriet is a dancer and I am going to be a very proud sister and go and watch her dance in a musical on Saturday! Since it is such a long way and I haven't seen any of my family since Christmas I'm going to stay up for the rest of the week which will be so nice... I wanted to start a new crochet blanket before then, so I could take it with me for something to do on the journey, so I  need to do a bit of yarn shopping in preparation I think :)

Anyway, best go get on - I actually tidied my studio yesterday after weeks of complete chaos and it looks sooooooo much better now (at least you can see the floor again!) and so much nicer to work in. Will leave you with a few pictures...





I really need some more shelves - there has been quite a bit of new fabric purchasing going on around here and I'm running out of places to put it all!! Anyway have a lovely rest of the week and a great weekend, will try and pop in again next week before I go away! Take care and enjoy the sunshine if you get any (it's been foggy here for days and it's forecast rain and thundery showers for the weekend so not holding out too much hope here!) Back soon xxx

14 comments:

Faith said...

It's hard to get things in balance and in the very nature of your work you need to put the work in when it's called for, but I do get that on occasion it must rather run away with you.

Hope you have a lovely break....and what could be better news than some yarn shopping!

Jooles said...

ahhh the balance of life.....it's a tricky one Jenny for sure x

I hope you have a lovely break away with your family and manage to clear your mind and 'breathe' i am sure that you will return home invigorated and relaxed.
enjoy that yarn shopping!
love jooles x

Dinki Dots said...

Wow, such gorgeous cards! And I love your studio, it looks so pretty with all those lovely colours - very organised too!
I hope you enjoy your break away - sounds like you really need it! I also hope you don't give up the blogging - I would miss your posts! :o)
Maria x

Helen Philipps said...

Hello Jenny Your post was so interesting today and I totally get how you're feeling. Being an artist/designer/maker is all about the creativity and inspiration, and that's your strength. Having to keep reproducing the product in a factory-style way can suit some people perfectly but not everyone! I am sure you will be able to tweak your products to avoid the overloaded feeling, and maybe look at other areas or ways of marketing your fab designs. A week away with your family will make you feel refreshed and a whole lot better.....and things will work out, it's all about finding what suits you best. Have a wonderful (and well earned) break!
Helen x

Artwork By Angie said...

Hi Jenny - You are soooo not alone!...it's really comforting to see another person air exactly the same thoughts as I've had recently. I've also been flat out working, and have had to turn away work (which goes against my nature as I hate feeling I'm letting people down). I think it goes with the job. To get any kind of balance I keep telling myself that the trick is to go with the flow and be busy when you know you're going to be busy and in those quieter times, make that quality time for family & friends - hopefully it will all balance out in the end. A little rant to let off steam every now and then doesn't hurt! I hope you have a lovely time visiting your family, enjoy every minute! :-) Angie xx

Annie said...

Oh this all sounds so familiar! I used to juggle working from home and managing the family, and it was both perfect (multi-tasking coffee breaks meant necessary things like putting the washing on or nipping to the village shop got done almost without me noticing) but was also a total nightmare as I never seemed to just switch off and could spend over sixty hours a week working. Then I got really sick and the whole house of cards came crashing down and I learnt the hard way that I really needed to pace myself. I stepped right back from it all for a good while and only started picking things up again last year. I have a long term, slow-grow plan, and my whole family is on alert to make sure I stick to it. Personally I think it's important to take a few days out once or twice a year just to revamp your time management strategies, and then make sure your family know what your schedules are and really help you to keep to them, even if that means they stay up half the night with you to get something urgent done so you can take a day off. Oh and delegate, delegate, delegate, it's what will keep you sane. But please don't stop blogging x

Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

ello Jenny...
Oh my...how I can connect with your post!...I agree that it can be so hard to switch off. I've avoided Pinterest and Twitter because I would never find the time to do anything creative at all and I'm limiting the time I spend on Facebook too...I've almost deleted the page in the past..
For the next couple of weeks I am working hard to finish 2 projects but the deal is that I have a nice break over Easter with family..I am going to be really strict with myself on this one!
I hope you don't give up your blog Jenny...even if you can only post once in a while I love to visit you and it is a good showcase for your lovely work...
Enjoy your break away and you will come back with those batteries recharged and raring to go again!
Love your cards...real works of art to be framed!
Susan x

greenrabbitdesigns said...

It's great and not surprising that your work is in such demand. Although remember to take care of yourself, a break away with your family will be a wonderful rest for you and yes you need to get some new yarn to crochet while you are away.
Don't give up your blog though, we'd miss you!
Vivienne x

Sally said...

Those new cards are so pretty! Mmmm must tidy my studio too, you've shamed me, I need to see tidy rows of fabrics too! Love your floral fabrics.
Sally x

Andrea said...

Hi Jenny,
I am not surprised you are so busy but totally understand how you feel. Your week away will be just lovely and a real chance to re charge, I am willing Mothers Day to be over!! Shouldn't really as the work is great! but such a lot to do. Please try to not give up your blog it is one I always look forward to reading, I neglect mine when busy and did actually delete it not long back but quickly changed my mind!!
Enjoy your week away and I love your tidy studio, you seriously do not want to see my mess!!
Love Andrea x

magic said...

I love your blog as it inspires me to actually do some work and then i dream that one day i may beable to sell it.

Hope you have a good rest at your parents x

fee @ chipper nelly said...

oooh with you x 10!
it's hard to complain when we are so lucky to not only have a job, but be doing something we absolutely LOVE.
But it is hard to find a balance. Cleggy is self employed too so we often spend (literally) every waking minute working in some way or other.
I put my shop on holiday last weekend to catch up on commissions and it was so lovely! I'm also taking lots of products off for a few months to try and get some balance back. I feel blessed that I can afford to do it - and lucky to spend so much time with my boys.
Wish you lived closer - we could have this convo over a coffee!
fee x

The Sewing Boutique said...

I agree its hard finding a balance. Its almost like you have to be as disciplined with your working hours as you have with your paperwork!

Love your studio space, am suitably jealous!

Hope you have a lovely weekend and some rest and relaxation

x x

Pollzibus said...

I really love those cards, I love a textured greetings card and yours are so colourful and inspiring! love this blog, am following you for future card inspiration!
pollie xo

www.pollyflo.blogspot.com

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