Tag Archives: Handmade Shop

New directions

I was going to start this post with a lovely poetic piece about the rain.  But while I was writing it I had a phone call from the boy’s school.  Again.  His father is handling the situation, but the very fact of the call is enough to make me change my direction.  For the post, and for my/our life.

I have been on leave from work for some months now for a combination of reasons.  Trying to support a child with special needs, getting more and more worn down myself from constantly keeping all the balls in the air – working full time at a high level, being a full time single parent, the boy’s need for extra everything, the fact that the girls miss out on so much when the boy needs so much, keeping everyone fed, clothed, alive……  It all got too much at the end of last year and I fell apart.  So my leave (thank goodness I have worked as a public servant for so long) was needed to get me back to ‘normal’ (whatever that is) so that I could go back to juggling the balls again.

Except that I have realised that, as a wise woman I know says, ‘If nothing changes, then nothing changes.’  If I go back to juggling, I will fall again.  And next time I might not get back up.  Something needs to change.  The boy and his sisters won’t change.  They will always be my top priority.  Whether we live in this house or another, the same basic level of housework, maintenance, and general ‘home-ness’ will not change.  Although my ex-husband is back living in the same country, so I am not a full time single parent anymore, that change is not enough to balance it all out.  That leaves work – my paid employment and my creative business.  I am not yet sure what the answer is about which of these will need to change the most in order to build a new direction for me/us but it is obvious that one or both will need to.

I have applied for some further leave (of the long service type – again – so glad that I have worked for so many years!) so that I can work this question out.  Because life as a parent of a child with a disability can’t follow the plan that I previously had.  We have to find a new path, and a new approach, and a new plan.  This plan has to put my health near the top of the list of priorities, to allow flexibility so that the boy can have the support he needs when he needs it, to produce enough income to pay for the necessities in life, and to be manageable.  Expect to see a lot of idea bubbles floating around above my head, growing or popping as I work through all of them, weighing up, assessing and looking at how to build a new life for the chicks and I.  Although it is daunting, it is also exciting.  The possibilities are endless!

Meanwhile, back in the sewing studio (sounds posh doesn’t it?!) in between periods of intense chaos, some goods have been produced!  I have completed some custom orders, delivered a pile of bibs to restock the Handmade Shop (the first lot almost all sold out in under a month!!), and am ticking things off the list I made on the weekend.  This custom order was delivered today, in time for the birthday of a girl who loves Dr Who, and who loves the willow pattern.  I can’t wait to hear how she reacts to it on her birthday!

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And, after all my protests about bibs not being ‘in scope’ they are selling well, I like making them, and I have some plans to expand my ‘range’ for older children and teens.  Stand by for that development (once my new fabric order arrives!!).  In the meantime how gorgeous are these fabrics?

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Another thing that I ticked off my list this week was listing my new stock in my Etsy shop.  I was so busy making things in the lead up to the Markets at the beginning of the month that I didn’t stop and photograph many of them – a good lesson for the future!  Here is a small selection of the newly listed bags.

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And finally, my big news of the day is that I have been accepted to sell my bags through Shop Handmade!  This was part of the plan that I created last year, so I am proud that I have followed my plan, and that I have been accepted to sell in such a wonderful shop.  The biggest danger is that each time I deliver stock I will have to be careful not to leave with just as many pieces of other people’s work!

This week’s plan is to finish more custom orders, sew up some new designs, and get some planning happening!  I hope that your week goes well (and that you get the rain that is so badly needed if you are in Australia!)

For now I am off to think about new directions over a cup of tea.

 

Ticking things off the list

The big news in the nest today is the rain.  Yes!  It has finally rained!  Our water tank is full, the garden is starting to look a bit green, the air is damp, and everything feels cleaner.  After long, hot, dry weeks everything, including the air, was starting to feel dusty, so this clean dampness is a joy!

The eldest chick’s birthday celebrations went off very well on Friday.  In the end I made her a cross body bag using Dr Who fabric, a Dr Who pillowcase, and gave her the pouch that I provided the tutorial on, with some beautiful face care products made by a very talented creative friend, Kyoko, who makes all the lovely things at So Soap.

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Add in a Lego present, and a light for her bike and she was a very happy eleven year old.  By way of a party I took her and four of her friends to a trendy café/pizza place/bar for dinner last night.  Luckily one of the mothers, who is a friend of mine, chose to stay so I had company while the 5 girls giggled and acted sophisticated, and then acted like children, and generally had a great time!  One of her friends always gives her excellent presents – either handmade by her mother (a very crafty friend of mine) or books.  This year it was a new series of books that already have the eldest chick lost with her nose deep in the pages, so that was a success!  Another present she got was just perfect.  Great friends of ours taught her to play Yahtzee over the holidays, so when they saw a Dr Who Yahtzee set, it had her name written all over it.  She very happily taught the boy to play it this morning and declared it the best game ever!

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By working away in my sewing room I have managed to complete the 6 bags that I cut out and prepared a week ago.  (I am trying not to dwell on the fact that it took me a week to make 6 bags…..).  I complicated things by putting in zipped inner pockets, wide bases that needed stability added, etc.  I also complicated things by managing, on three bags in a row, to sew things together upside down…….  I am sure that there is a message in there for me – just not sure what!  After 6 messenger style bags in a row I think it is time for something different this week.  (Now to work out what it is!)

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I have also made some business decisions in the last few days.  After going through a great process of deciding that the bibs that I have been sewing are not ‘within scope’ and therefore I will only make them to be sold by another website I have done a complete about face when presented with an opportunity too good to miss.  Here in Canberra we have the Handmade Shop, where everything in the shop is handmade within Australia.  It has always been part of my long term plan to apply to stock my bags in there, but I am not at that point yet.  However they recently called for a new designer bib maker to apply to stock their shop, and a friend of mine tagged me in the Facebook page.  Cutting a convoluted story short, a few days later I applied, and was accepted the same day, so will be stocking bibs there from 1 March!  What a fabulous excuse to buy more gorgeous children’s prints!

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The second decision was that I needed to improve my record keeping and inventory control, particularly for attending markets, and if I am going to have stock sitting in shops, or on other websites.  A recommendation from a creative colleague pointed me to a great program – and it can be used on an ipad, including producing and then scanning barcodes (it is Vend, if you are interested).  What does this mean, I hear you ask?  That this provided sufficient justification to purchase a new iPad Air.  (I was an early adopter of the first iPad but hadn’t upgraded since, and the absence of a camera meant that it wasn’t much use for inventory etc.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!)   So now I can look all professional and keep track of my products instead of looking at my storage boxes in confusion!

On the home front, the chicks all had a great week at their schools.  Given the drama, trauma, and crises of the last two years with the boy attending school, being able to write that first sentence is such a relief.  I am eternally optimistic, so hope that it continues (but am realistic enough to know that the future is unpredictable.)

With only 3 weeks until the Handmade Markets I am hitting the panic button a bit, so hope to get a lot of sewing done this week.  I was going around in circles tonight, wondering what to do next when I remembered my bicycle applique from the last post.  So here it is, appliqued onto some canvas, ready to be made into a canvas satchel!

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I think I might have to break up the sewing for the week with experimenting with a few new applique templates!

I hope that you have had a great weekend, and that your week ahead is full of fun experiments.  What are you looking forward to most this week?