Why I’m Quitting Blogging

 

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I’ve been having a bit of a dilemma lately, I need to make cut backs in certain areas so that I can get more time for others! This is the problem when you have so many interests and two businesses to run! Well I say two, I really need to find time for my second one that I’m trying to set up. I made some much needed charges to my vintage selling business to free up some time but it’s not enough, I need to make more cut backs elsewhere.

This has been playing on my mind a bit for the last few months and as much as I love blogging, it seems I don’t love it enough to keep in on the stay list. I have been blogging since early 2009, I’ve never been a very dedicated blogger, it’s waxed and waned over the years, over the last few months the urge to blog seems to be waning and trying to keep up is becoming a chore. I never wanted to be a professional blogger, I definitely fall into the hobbyist catagory so not keeping up in the blogging loop has never really bothered me that much. But i do still enjoy reading other people’s blogs.

August is always a good time for reflection, things slow down in the summer for business as everyone is a way and it frees up time to do a little reevaluating of things. I feel that I’m spreading myself to thinly these days  and with so much to keep up with am a) only producing half arsed worked and b) not getting enough personal time in. So I’m cutting back and refocusing that energy into projects that require it especially my new shop, I’m so far behind its silly! So that means I’m putting the blog on hiatus for a while maybe forever. I like writing and want to also focus on some creative pieces that have been languishing in a pile and if I choose between writing a blog or writing a novel, i think I’ll give the novel a go.

I’ve enjoyed blogging (most of the time) but now I feel is the time to let it go and move on as my heart really isn’t invested in it anymore. Maybe one day it will again but for now I’m concentrating on other things. I’m toying with turning this site into more of a professional portfolio and keeping the blog as an archive but there are so many things going on over the next few months, I’ll come to that decision later.

August Goals

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July again was work, work, work on the old shop and so yet again although attempts were made, goals were not met. In other news I’ve made some changes to the vintage shop and what is being stocked which will hopefully free up not only time but space as well in my time work room.

Speaking of making space, the great summer clear out is almost done and dusted. We made massive headway of clearing stuff out, lots of broken and unusable stuff went to the recycling centre, a batch of stuff went to the charity shop and bunch of stuff was sold on ziffit and eBay. I still have some stuff to list on ebay and also sort the CD collection and then that is done. So the flat is feeling a lot less cluttered. I still have some stuff to scan and sort out but feeling like a conquered a small mountain. So all in all things got done which is an achievement, so not feeling so bad about not getting through other stuff, swings and roundabouts and all that jazz.

August is traditionally a quiet business month, everyone is holiday so I usually do my Christmas and Halloween prep. I’m not even sure if I’m going to do a Christmas range this year, I have bought some new supplies to make some smaller pieces to tide me over whilst I work on designing and finishing the bigger pieces. I’m tying to keep a streamlined and slightly more branded approach but to be honest I’m not sure that is my strong point but I will keep at it. I still have loads of supplies to use up despite the streamlining and declutter but it’s no longer overwhelming so that’s another bonus.

halloween supplies

As for setting goals, the main one to slow down a little and refocus on work life balance. I really have fallen out of the habit of making and sewing and I miss it a lot. I get that sometimes you need to focus on one area more in order to get other stuff done later but I’ve spent way more time on it than I intended. It’s easy to fall into a habit of working all the hours under the sun and moon when you’re self-employed and I’m really trying to implement a more structured working day and week, like I would have if I still worked for someone else. Personal time is essential when freelancing and all too often it gets pushed aside because of the fear that the work will dry up. So as things are slower in the summer, it makes sense to enjoy the quietness whilst you can before the busiest season of the year starts (well for those of us who work in retail/e-tail that is).

I’ve occasionally been knitting in the evenings but most of my work day has been taken up with the vintage shop, which is fine because it brings me in money but I’m limiting my time on it to two days a week, three to four days on the handmade shop and the rest is personal time. Obviously I can be flexible when needs be but for me August has always been about enjoying summer and celebrating birthdays. So many people I know are born in August, me I’ll be turning 40 towards the end of the month. I’ll be writing more about that later.

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Anyway back to goals, so August’s goal is to chill out a bit, finish organising our trip to Canada, flights are booked but need to book accommodation and look into what to do whilst there. I also want to catch up on some sewing and work on my wardrobe etc and also spend more time dedicated to blogging and writing. I’ll be making a few tiny tweaks to the blog over the summer but instead of just saying I will write about style, making clothes etc I will start publishing these drafts I’ve been working on (once I’ve taken pictures). The blog will be focusing more on style and clothes, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while and have dabbled in in the past but it’s still way out of my comfort zone but it’s time to step out of the comfort zone.

So August won’t be concentrating on specific goals like reading a certain amount of books or finishing a certain number of projects but more gearing up to setting better habits, finding time to do things, going on mini adventures, slowing down, relaxing, refocusing recharging and enjoying the rest of the summer.

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July Goal List

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Well it will not surprise you that I didn’t get through all of my June goal list what with trying to catch up on work, sorting through things for this clear out and the mini heatwave that came out of nowhere and made me slightly ill that week, I only managed a tiny part of my goal list.

The clear out is going well, I no longer feel like I’m constantly tripping over stuff. I sorted out a bunch of DVDs and Books to send off to Ziffit and Music Magpie and made us £40 in the process. I could have made more but with the Music Magpie box, the value was quite low, so they have an option to donate which I did instead. What I couldn’t sell I took to the recycling centre, I ended up doing a bunch of write-offs for clothing in the shop but sometimes you have to balance up the time with the cost and whether it’s worth it in the long run. I took a small hit instead and took it the textile recycling bin.

I took the same with a bunch of pyrex, I’ve been collecting odds and ends here and there and decided over the week which collections to keep and what’s to go. I got rid of the Chelsea and the Autumn Glory, both are pretty popular in that I see it around more than the other designs, so I put it all through the dishwasher  and then took it too a charity shop. I’m only looking for what I’m collecting and that is black snowflake and June Rose and obviously rare stuff if it’s in my budget. FYI I found a yellow and black snowflake space saver in the wild for £3 with it original lid! Considering the prices I’ve seen on eBay this was a bargain, it was also hidden on the bottom shelf, so shows it’s always good to have a rummage!

But the main point is that I’m feeling less overwhelmed and there’s a little more space, especially now that we have a third cat. Did I tell you we adopted a third cat? No Oh well we did, one of My sister’s friends could no longer keep him and so asked if I would take him in, so we did. We’re all still going through an adjustment period but he seems to be settling in well.

So how did my goals in June and what goals did I set for July?

Sewing – I didn’t sew anything because my table was taken up with work but I have cleared space and so plan to finish the five things from June’s list and two more for July! I won’t lie I’ve missed sewing and making things, so I’m spending much less time on listing and more time on making stuff for myself and for the new shop. I feel like the last few months have been taken over splitting up the shops and setting up the vintage one, which I know I have to do first in order to do the more arty stuff but I need a break from admin and so will spend July getting back to my crafty roots and only spending a maximum of two days a week on the vintage shop.

Knitting – The heatwave put the kabosh on knitting for a while, so the sweater is still in progress. I’m a bit more lax with knitting in the summer because it just makes me hotter! But for July the goal is finish the sweater and scarf in my project bag.

Reading – So I really need to make more time for reading, especially as I keep buying more books. I made some progress and read chapters here and there but am now seven books behind on my challenge. I kind of take these Goodreads challenges as a loose guideline to just read, one day I might actually reach a goal I set myself but I’m done feeling bad over unmet goals.

Writing – I didn’t get much writing done but I did drag out all my old notesbooks and half written stories to get ready to sort out and write up which is a start. There’s nothing like reading over old writing to either makes you swell with pride or cringe and want to set fire to it but I don’t and keep them as reminders that I have written, I have got better at writing, things don’t always come out as planned and that’s okay. July’s goal is to just write some stuff up into Evernote, maybe finish a story.

Art – No sketching done but July will involve drawing up designs for my embroidery work for my new handmade shop. I will also finish some personal art projects, well maybe just projects like my gig ticket scrap-book.

Photography – I’ve definitely been taking more photos, we went to the barbican and I managed to get some pretty decent photos from my phone when I forgot to put the memory card back in camera! I’ve also been taking lots of pics of flowers in the garden in prep for some artwork and also practising my macro photography because I love extreme close up and tiny details especially on plants. July’s goal is to get out to a graveyard and get some pictures for a post.

So I guess my main goal really is to be a little more creative than the last few months and also blog a bit more.

It’s Been Three Years…

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…Since I quit my job and became self-employed! Three whole damn years, can you believe that, and guess what? I almost forgot! I won’t lie it’s been a struggle and I’m still nowhere near where I wanted to be but I’m still going. The last three years have been a learning curve and I have learnt so much. Some days I have just wanted to jack it in because I couldn’t see the point of struggling so hard or it was because I had no idea or clue what I was doing or where I wanted to go! Other days I’m like yeah this is the best and I’m a total boss! Freelance/self-employed life is a roller-coaster of emotions sometimes, like everything it’s full of highs and lows.

Every little sale or get a good feedback slowly erases away the self-doubt but every week of slow sales is a reminder not to get cocky and to keep at it! Not to give up if you fall at the first hurdle or even the second or third hurdle. They say behind every overnight success is at least five-ten years hard work most us won’t ever get to that level of success and will just get by day-to-day.  There will be many ‘failures’ a long the way. Some of them won’t even be failures just bad timing, trends come and go and the bat of an eyelid, blink and something new has taken over.

People will still think that you working for yourself is a doss, and that you pretty much free to drop everything and do stuff because hey working for yourself doesn’t mean you have a work schedule to keep at,  or they ask as an after thought (ie when you mention it) oh how’s that going for you than like they’re asking about the weather or even better, oh you’re still doing that then! or that your silly little craft fairs are not important (yes someone actually said that to me), or customer at markets who declare loudly that they could make this for far less, or customers requesting commissions declaring that there design is a big improvement on yours and expecting you to agree with them! And so on and so on, these are the things that keep you grounded and determined. Proving people wrong has always been my number one motivator.

Yes with freelancing comes a certain level of flexibility but you still have to haul ass to the post office regardless of the weather, there are no sick days, sick benefits or paid holidays. You do end up working longer hours and longer weeks but hey you’re leaving the dream so it doesn’t count, tell that to the bills that need paying.

Comparison is definitely the thief of joy, never compare your journey to anyone else’s, numbers are arbitrary, just because someone has 10,000 followers doesn’t always necessarily mean they are doing better than you, we live in a world where the number of likes seemingly make people look popular but at the end of the day it’s not a true indicator. people obsess over them for the wrong reasons, they paying attention to the wrong numbers,

This year I finally managed to settle on a path after much experimenting and somehow now have two shops to run. Two very different styles of shop which equally reflect my passions in life. Well I say two shops, I’m spending a lot of time setting up one with plans for another but obviously having to do everything myself means this is taking a little longer than I expected. I’m hoping to launch my handmade shop in time for my birthday. It seems kind of nice to start a new venture in a new decade.

I’m feeling a lot more settled, though being self-employed there is always the worry where the next sale/commission is coming from but I’m happy with where I’m at, I’m grateful I never gave up thanks to support of my customers and more so to my excellent cheerleader of a husband, reminding me that I can do this and I’m better at this than I think I am.

Everyday I learn something new and everyday I’m grateful I get to do this, some people have viewed my strong will and stubbornness as a negative but in this case it’s working to my advantage, and I guess that’s all that matters.

 

 

June Goals

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I know I stopped setting myself challenges etc because of pressure and work and life commitments but that doesn’t mean I’ve ruled out having goals all together, in fact not at all. I think it’s always good to have something to aim towards, even if it’s something small like saving up for new shoes or a trip to the cinema once a month. In my last post I said I was going to stop doing monthly round ups and do some more photo posts instead, sometimes it is nice to reflect on what’s been done but it’s also nice to look forward to things as well. As always my theory is if I put it in writing I’m more likely to do things, the problem is I have so much I want to do and not enough hours to them, so I breaking them down into more manageable goals.

I’ve spent most of May either trying to catch up on listing stock for the vintage store or de-cluttering the flat, which despite being a chore, I made good progress on but didn’t leave me much time to be creative, so as per my Summer of Selfish Sewing and art post I’m going to try to make more time for creativity. I’ve already pushed back the opening of my new store because I want to concentrate on that properly but that’s post for another time. So here’s what I’m doing to get my creative groove back.

Sewing

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Finish at least five items. My work in progress pile is out of control, it’s more of a mountain plus I’m behind on my vintage pledge. I’m also on a self-imposed ban until some of this fabric gets used up!

Knitting

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Finish my Nuuk sweater. I started this in March and I was planning knitting an item a month but got sidetracked by a knitting commission, so that plan has gone out the window and even though it’s hot now and knitting in summer usually slows me down but I will finish this before June is out.

Reading

I’m one of those people who has several books on the go,  currently have five! I’m also a little behind on my Goodreads challenge, so my goal is to finish the ones I have on the go before starting any new ones (except the complete works of OZ because that is long!!!). Not making any promises on this one. Also I read one of my magazines that I’ve been hoarding, so many interesting articles to read and they just sit there, so time to act on that.

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Writing

So I pulled out all my old writing stuff to sort out and scan and it got me thinking about how I always say I’m going to make time for writing again (blog not included) and seeing I have a lot of half-started stories my goal this month is to at least sort them out and decided which ones are going to get finished. I might also try to start rewriting one.

Art

As above I’m always talking about taking up painting again, actually this is a rolling new years resolution and have failed completely for about four years running unless you count painting backdrops for stock photography. I need to get some practice in especially if I want to start doing my own designs and I also I like painting. So my goal is to start a painting, not finish it but at least start one. Also to start sketching up some designs for my embroidery projects.

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Photography

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I have, like most, a love hate relationship with Instagram. I confess I haven’t been paying too much attention to it lately, mostly my vintage account for obvious reasons. My main account I switched back to a personal account as I’m not sure what I’m doing with it, it’s kind of fallen b y the wayside. I tried making it look professional/themed and then I couldn’t be bothered especially when the whole algorithm/people buying followers/Instagram pod things kicked off! It just took away the point of it but until another better platform comes along that hasn’t been beaten into submission by Facebook I’ll just stick with it and try not to care too much about stats, which is kind of hard when your business relies on social media and stats are thrown around left right and centre! Anyhoo my point is take more pictures of whatever I like! Sounds like a given but apparently it’s not.

So that’s my creative goals for June.