Tag Archives: business planning

New Page launched!

Resource imageAnnouncing a new page on my site (insert trumpets heralding) – the Resources page!

Over the last two years I have researched topics relating to making, selling, selling online, blogging, and business for many hours.  Along the way I have found wonderful sites that share knowledge, provide guides, invite participation in a community, and support creative businesses.  This page now houses the beginning of a list to those resources that I have found so useful.  I will continue to add to the page, and will start to provide regular posts on ideas, tips and guides that I have found useful in my own business.

If you have any sites that you think should be on the list, please drop me a line (Theresa@alittlebirdmademe.com) so that I can add them to the page!

Now I am heading off to my sewing room to play with fabric make beautiful things!

Have a great day!

Answers to riddles

After the rather obscure references to burnt bits of meat in my last post’s heading, I thought I should clear up some other vagaries in this post!

For those of you who have been reading along over the last year, you might recall that I did my Right Brain business course last year and had all sorts of lightbulb moments that I promised to tell you about.  Then life, and my boy, got a bit chaotic, and all lightbulbs had to be tucked away for a while.  With a new year, and a lovely card (that ironically was in a gift from my ex-husband) stuck to my pin board to remind me that 2014 is my year, I have been dusting off the lightbulbs and adding to them.

The first lightbulb to share with you is that I love making bags.  I love playing with colours, textures and shapes and making those little pieces of art that people get to use.  No surprises there – but a really good reminder about what gives me that zing in my day.

The second lightbulb is that I love to share ideas, to pass on tips, and to help other people to find their creative niche and passion in life.  The first tiny step towards that is my monthly newsletter where I hope to share ideas, tips and links that I find so that you can explore creative ideas until you find ones that resonate with you.  (Heavens knows that making bags was a complete accident for me and now I can’t imagine not doing it!)

The second step in shining the light of that lightbulb on my world is that I am developing some kits so that you can make your own ‘things’ at home, and learn some skills along the way.  Of course there will be bag kits – with everything you need to make a funky, practical and personal bag for yourself.  But I will also be adding in some other kits so that you can make personalised things (like superhero capes) of your own.  I am so excited about this!  I am hoping to have my patterns with testers by early March, so stand by for updates!  (Those who know me understand that I often want to rush in and do everything at once, so the fact that I am doing this in stages is sensible but excruciating at the same time!)

Then last week I was teasing you with images of me walking around the house with wet bamboo fabric on my shoulders to test absorbancy and wicking.  The answer?  I accepted a commission from a lovely business owner to make some bibs for her shop.  She wanted bandana bibs with teething chews attached as she had customers asking for them regularly.  I brought my analytical brain out of hiding and looked at the problem from several different angles and decided that cotton tops, with bamboo/cotton French terry towelling as the lining would do the trick.  The style of a bandana bib is that the folds that naturally form then trap dribble, spills, etc.  Having the bamboo, with it’s super-absorbancy means that all that wetness gets held in the bib, rather than going straight through onto the baby’s clothes.  As for the teether being attached?  Well – I can now say that I have sewn plastic onto fabric (and remembered to change the needle before sewing cotton again)!  Then the question arose of how to close the bib.  Ah-ha!  My days as a mother using modern cloth nappies (diapers) came to the fore – plastic snaps with two snaps on one side makes the bib adjustable.  So I am now the proud owner of a press and die set to install the snaps.  (And we all know how much I love a gadget!)  The trial run of bibs is on its way to be photographed ready for listing at www.LittleBubbalish.com.au – who will sell them exclusively.  Another bit of excitement!  (And while a small deviation from my bag plans, is a great way to play with fabrics for small people that I don’t often get to use!)

01c47005ab4b32d4d3d92e85aeaaa9bcec1ab4e964

In reviewing my business plan from last year, and working on it a bit more I have been focussing on what is important to me at home, in my business and in my working life (you know – the job that pays the bills!)  I had a think about this blog.  You might have noticed that I have been blinging it up a bit over the last few weeks – creating the home page, adding some other tabs, putting up a shiny new header and tag line.  Hmmmm…..perhaps I got a bit too focussed on the ‘business’ aspect of it all, and forgot the stuff that I like doing – writing to you and talking about what is happening here in the nest.  You can expect a return to ‘normal programming’ soon!  (I am still undecided about the ‘home page’.  All feedback welcome!)

And finally – I have been planning.  Let me explain something first.  I am a list maker – I love to tick things off.  I used to be highly organised  (before I had children) but sitting down and developing plans just isn’t my forte.  So to be working through plans step by step is a little unusual for me.  But I have found a workbook that resonates with me (and will share more about it when I am finished) so am actually using it!  The point I am up to today is to list the things that I will do each day.  There are suggestions in the workbook, that are so simple and obvious and yet reading them gave me such clarity.  I haven’t yet finalised my list, but the ones that resonated (yes I am aware that I am using that word twice in one paragraph) with me were to step away from the computer, to spend 15 minutes each day decluttering a part of your house,  to allocate time for emails, etc.  So obvious, but such a good reminder!  There is also a challenge to reduce emails to 5 lines.  (Thank goodness it wasn’t to reduce blog posts to 5 lines – you know how verbose I am!)

While there hasn’t been a lot of sewing (apart from the bibs) happening, there has been a lot of mental activity going on.  I am struggling a bit with the constancy of children due to the school holidays but am trying to find time each day to just focus on being present with them.  It is harder than it sounds.  I am so burnt out from the emotional demands of the last couple of years that dealing with their demands all day means that I am retreating a bit in order to cope.  But a daily reminder to myself is keeping me from falling away too far.  A three day Monopoly game with the boy was hilarious – even when I finally managed to bankrupt him.  The middle chick thought she would make meringues using a recipe from her Science book.  It was an experiment in more ways than one – the electric hand held mixer I received for my 21st birthday died in a puff of smoke and the smell of burning sugar and rubber.  The eldest chick is doing her own version of planning.  She is writing, cutting, sticking and writing some more.  I think she is making lists to try and help her make sense of the transition we are all going through.  Or maybe she is just her mother’s daughter.

Ah look – another long rambling post from me.  If you are still here – thank you.  I hope that your week allows you time to be present with the people who are important to you.

A feature!

Half way through the week already?

My exciting news tonight is that I am featured on the lovely blog Janes Apple.  I am used to seeing the photos of my bags and pencil holders, but somehow seeing them on someone else’s blog makes them look a bit more ‘professional’!    Please go and support Sian on her blog – she puts a lot of effort into supporting and promoting Australian craftspeople and artists – and has a lovely range of cards too!  I am so honoured to have been featured.  It has me turning my mind to how much I enjoy reading about other crafters, and wondering whether I might also invite some to be featured here to share with you all.  One for the drawing board!

I also need to say thank you to all the wonderful friends who have responded with so much support after my post about my boy on Sunday.  As the week has gone on the medication is starting to take effect and his teacher is seeing a real difference in his ability to stay in the classroom and stay on task.  So it looks like we are on the right path.  Of course, the medication wears off mid-afternoon, so we are seeing little benefit at home, but just having him focussed at school is a huge change for us all.  Most importantly, he is happy.

I have been busy sewing this week, but nothing to display of any significance.  I am back to making more costumes for the school production.  This time I have cut up pale blue sheets to make 16 sashes.  I will hopefully finish them tonight, which will free me up to return to the things I love doing!  This time next week the costumes will have been on stage and the sewing will be over!  There will be a large glass of champagne at interval with my name on it I suspect!

With everything that has been happening at home I have drifted slightly from my business plan activity.  However my workshop friends have continued to post their progress, so I am not losing sight of the goals, and today took delivery of the Right Brain Business planning book.  Although I had downloaded it to my Kindle app, there is something about the pages of a book that makes it easier to read, feel and think about.  I think it might be just the incentive to re-engage with the process that I needed.

My house is a busy one at present.  I have a cousin from The Netherlands here for the night, a child having a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic on Friday, and all the usual sports and school activities.  I need to find time to squeeze in some making and doing and sewing……

I hope that you are having a great week.

Playing with colour

It is late at night here in the nest, so I will actually keep this brief (for once!). I had planned to have some finished products to show you today, but a bit of distraction in the form of a movie one night, a lovely dinner out another night, and a phone call with a friend, means that instead I will show you works in progress.

I have started on a bag to feature some of the lovely Dr Who fabric from Spoonflower. This will be the pocket on the back of the bag when it is completed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also have cut out and prepared, ready for stitching, two more bucket bags. These are both made out of fabrics that I love and I have enjoyed playing with colour to find the contrasting pockets. So here they are, with interfacing attached, but no stitching, darts, etc! Hopefully the next photos will show amazing finished products!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By Sunday I should have a fair bit to report as I am doing a course for right brain creative people on how to plan your small business. I am already toying with ideas, so am looking forward to a day focussed on bringing all my ideas together into a cohesive plan to use when my mind is wandering off with new ideas!

In the meantime I hope that your week is going well, and that you have had some special distractions in your life too.

Getting my mojo back

This has been a week of personal growth and revelations. It coincided with having to miss a lot of my paid work to care for children. Could be something in that!  I should post a warning that this post contains very little about sewing (for once) and more of my self-revelation musings!!

Having time at home gave me time to clear my head a bit, to think about various aspects of my life that I tend to tuck away into the ‘when I have time’ basket, and to rediscover parts of myself. I have written before about how I have found the process of making things gives me a chance to de-stress, to focus and to work through issues in my mind. What I hadn’t really appreciated before this week is that once I start that process, I also gain in creativity.

What have I achieved this week? As I wrote earlier in the week I came up with a plan for managing my blogging more regularly. I also spent some time preparing some posts for weeks when I don’t have as much time. I looked at my Etsy shop and realised that I didn’t like the overall look and feel of it. So I did some reading on taking photos, played with my camera a bit, tried out an Etsy App for ‘fusing’ photos (and abandoned it) and then re-shot all the photos for my Etsy listings. Instead of the outdoors backgrounds I had been using,  I have gone with white. I have used the macro setting to get some close ups, and to gain different perspectives on my pieces. While I can still spot room for improvement, I am much happier with it now. (And am happy to get feedback if you have time to have a look!)

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before and After

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before and After

I was feeling a bit virtuous by this time, so decided to keep going. I joined some Etsy teams, and created a couple of treasuries (curated collections of other people’s listings – not my own), and enjoyed that so will try to keep it up. Then I made the decision that I am still a bit directionless with all of this, so registered to attend a Right Brain Business Plan workshop with Canberra Creatives.  The timing is perfect as it is on while the chicks are visiting their grandparents during our July school holidays.  I am hoping to create a plan and focus my energy in one direction instead of stopping to look at every bright and shiny thing that comes along!

June 20133

Hey look – better light today!

All of this made me feel a lot more connected with the business side of my creating.  Which lead to my creation of the new bag design yesterday (in my last post) and a feeling that I had ‘got my mojo back’.  Which was interesting as I wasn’t aware that I had lost it!  This is a recurring theme in my life.  I think I am happily pottering along, then something happens and I find myself being truly happy again and realise that until that point I have been slowly sinking into survival mode for a while, without realising it.  A year after my husband left me some dear friends gave me a gift with a card that read “Celebrating the becoming of Theresa”.  It was a sharp reminder that by the time my marriage ended I had lost so much of myself, and hadn’t realised it.  Although the pain and grief that came with the end of my marriage was so strong, and still lingers these years later, the rediscovery of myself and the things that make me feel happy and alive was a gift that kept me going.

A few years later, after being a full-time single parent for a couple of years, I am conscious that I have lost a bit of myself again.  Creating things, and having another focus in life seems to be a good way of keeping those bits of me sustained when everything else is getting a bit much!  So the realisation that I had lost a bit of my creative mojo, when it returned this week, was a good reminder that I need to nurture that side of my life too.  I am not quite sure how to do this yet, but am mulling over a few ideas as I sit and sew bags and match fabrics and colours, so I will see what pops out at the end!

These are the fabrics I am playing with for my next set of bags!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I hope that your week is full of love and support – and that you are able to nurture your mojo too!