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