August Goals

Sunbeams

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.

penny dress

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.

snail

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.

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

knitting and coffee

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.

japan cover lodestars anthology

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.

coffee and embroidery art

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.

 

365 Project – Week 13

So if I was feeling the inspiration fading last week, this week was even worse. I guess that being in the midst of a massive clear out and work overhaul doesn’t help and half way through this week I wanted to kick this project in the nuts and concede defeat. You should know (if you haven’t figured it out already) I can be a tad over dramatic at time but my sister and I have concluded that it’s a genetic and that we come from a long line of drama queens!
Anyhoo, my instagram feed was looking a little less than impressive this week and I know I shouldn’t rely on likes or numbers but the last minute grainy photos began to take there toll and aren’t creating any interest in the project. Also some of my projects have come to standstill because of work (I know I should stop blaming work for everything but really it’s true), also I feel the compelling need to delete this feed and start again because I have no fricking idea what I’m doing with it and this creative slump is kind of getting to me now!
85/365 – This is probably the best picture you’re going to get this week because it’s pretty much all downhill from here! So on Saturday I made another trip to the craft store to buy some replacements buttons for the ones I bought last week and lost! So I finally finished the Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots cardigan and that’s item number 6 of the year done and dusted.
86/365 – So I posted this picture a day late, ironically I forgot because I was doing a free online photography course in how to style flat lays and as you can see I paid a lot of attention! Seriously though, I did learn a few things, the course was only available for 24 hours, so I squeezed it in at the end of my day and the videos were super helpful and informative and I know that photography is my weak point at the moment, mostly because I rush and never bother to fix the lighting issues. But I’ll be running through the exercises again and practising some more, lord knows I have a tonne of stock to reshoot and practice with.
So I cast on a new project, I ditched this wool for now and recast on with another because it wasn’t suitable.

 

 

87/365 – At this point I wish I’d made this project a little broader, maybe 365 days of creativity but you know the point of a goal is to stick to it not keep moving the posts. So I started some new projects to get practicing my hand stitching again, as I was to do more embroidery pieces. This flat lay looks like some kind of weird homage to HAL is Space Odyssey.
88/365 – Another late grainy picture, maybe that should be my theme! You can’t see the sparkly thread in this and I don’t recommend using sparkly crochet twine for embroidery because it splits but this is just a practice piece for myself and my art/inspiration wall in my work room. I also ended up unstitching this and restarting with a new colour.
89/365 –  At this point in the week I decided to change the format of this project and post it just to the blog! In a bid to focus more on the quality of this project and documenting it and then I didn’t document anything at all! I started some new projects but I literally hit a wall with this project and was like I’m out! Out of ideas, out of inspiration, out of steam and I’m not enjoying it! I posted this pic and said I was taking an break from Instagram, sometimes when you step away from something and give yourself space you see the bigger picture. The bigger picture is I need to enjoy doing stuff, I need to enjoy my work so the project went on hiatus, which in all reality probably means it’s dead for good!
I feel kinda of bad giving up but at the same time good about giving it up. So whilst I didn’t delete my whole feed, I did delete the pictures I wasn’t happy with, basically I just posted because I need a picture for that day. I went back a bit further and deleted most of the posts from challenges, basically all the poorly lit and out of focus pics. At the end of the day I need to be posting because I want to not because I have to, plus content IS important when establishing a business and showing your work, so it’s done now, no going back. I’m not sure what’s next, I need a time out to refocus and think about what I want to do especially with this new shop, so I’ll leave it at that.
Maybe I’ll start another 365project at a later date and maybe I’ll plan this one instead of winging it like usually do, just maybe!
Natasha x

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Making Changes

I’m a big fan of change, change is good, change is growth. When people tell me I’ve changed I take is a compliment, I don’t want to get stuck and stagnate. Some people dislike change and that’s okay, that is their choice and I’m not here to question that. But things change regardless, we get older, we learn, we are shaped and influenced by our surroundings, by our experiences and sometimes we outgrow our old selves and it’s time to embrace our new selves. Spring I feel is always a good time to implement any changes we want to, we come out of semi hibernation from winter, the days are getting longer, our energy levels getting higher, it’s a good time to get the ball rolling on starting anything new and that’s what I’m currently doing. I’ve had time over the quieter months to think about what’s working, what’s not and how to move forward with my business/life and what I want to be doing.
I came up with Natasha de Vil when I briefly flirted with burlesque, I never made it to the stage but I enjoyed dance the lessons and finding my alter ego. I initially used it to set up a separate FB page to hang out with my vintage and burly friends but it just ended up being who I became to be known as and it stuck. I thought about changing it a lot but I kind of preferred having it as a handle for various reasons mainly my business. I threw myself into the world of self employment three years ago after my last job got so toxic it was making me ill, my hair starting to fall out was probably when I realised that it was me or them and if I didn’t act on it I was only punishing myself. I was fortunate enough to have (and still do) someone supporting me and helping me along the way. I tend to fall into things and just go with the flow but recently that has not been feeling right and I need to make some changes.
I’ve been think about turning 40 a lot lately, I figured by now I would have sussed, achieved a lot more but I realise that doesn’t matter. We live in a world obsessed with achieving goals/targets etc that we forget that in the grand scheme of things it’s not that relevant. I see people obsessed by numbers, weight/followers/earnings but it goes beyond healthy, beyond competitive and down to obsessive. I myself have become a little obsessed with goal and challenges recently but mostly to improve myself, I really don’t care what other people think, I want to push myself to the best of my abilities after years of believing this is the best I have to offer! I’m not having a turn forty crisis, in fact I’ve kind of been looking forward to it, treating a new decade as a new chapter of adventures which is why I’ve decided to let go of being known as Natasha de Vil, as it just feels right.
So I opened up a new store, as you might know I am focusing on what I’ve really wanted to do all this time which is more art based. I’ve always loved art, I’ve never formally trained but over the years I kept making promises to myself to take it up again that I never kept, maybe because the timing wasn’t right or maybe I’ve just been hesitant in taking the next big step, probably a little bit of both. I’ll be talking about getting back into art based stuff in a future post, as I fear it will make this post far too long to read but that’s the short of it.
The Natasha de Vil etsy shop will still be around for as long as it is. I’ll been using it to sell all old designs and supplies until they have gone, and then will be keeping it for vintage as I still love vintage and vintage will always be apart of my life. Natasha de Vil was kind of born out the vintage lifestyle I found and fell in love with when I first got into the blogging back in 2009, so it seems apt to keep the name for the shop and not kill her off completely. It will probably have it’s own Instagram account (so much for streamlining but a perk of giving up FB I guess) dedicated to all things vintage and vintage selling. I have some lovely new stock that has recently arrived and things seem to be slowly fitting into place.
So there it is, a change that has been unfolding over time, and is still happening, these things take time to deal with, changing handles, links etc, a faff I know but that’s just the way it is. The blog will be changing a bit too, mainly in name, I tend to blog about whatever takes my fancy and it will probably stay that way with a few more work/art pieces thrown in for good measure. I just can’t decide whether to stay here on blogger or move to WordPress or maybe even Squarespace but that’s a decision for another day.