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

snail

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.

Favourite Reads of 2016

Every year I do the Goodreads challenge and set myself a number of books to read. I always set it a little high just to give me an incentive to read more but I have yet to actually reach the number I set on any given goal!

Last year I managed 28 books and that’s been the most in many years. I actually set it for 52, which was one a week but come September I barely picked up a book thanks to work.

But here are some of my favourite reads from last year

Hunger Makes me a modern girl by Carrie Brownstein – I’ve been reading a lot of biographies this year and this one I enjoyed the most, I think mostly because I’m pretty much the same age as Brownstein and so I could relate to the era and empathize with what she was writing.

We should all be feminists by Chimianda Ngozi – Basically everyone should read this book, well actually it’s more of an essay and literally takes less than an hour to read but all teenagers should be given this to read, not just girls. In fact everyone just go and read it. I’ve always considered myself a feminist but more or so in the last year I’ve been become more and more apart of my indentity and so have been catching on my feminist related reading. After years of reading just angry white male literature (and by the way there is nothing wrong with this because a lot of it is really quite good) I feel personally I need to reconnect with some of the female authors out there. But then again I’m trying to broaden my reading all round into different genres.

Joyland by Stephen King – This is more of a murder mystery than your usual horror offering from King. Set in a theme park it can feel a bit scooby doo at times but still worth a read. It’s an easy read, it doesn’t get to bogged down in detail and is more character led which I liked.

Hello Kitty Must Die – If you like a humour dark and then covered with an extra layer of black, then this novel is for you. I don’t really want to spoil it but I found the ending hysterical but now I’m concerned what that says about me!

The Bees by   – This story is set in a beehive, from the point of a worker bee. It’s a sort of murder mystery thriller and although it takes a while to pick up, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch – This is the second of the Peter Grant series about a policeman training in the art of magic and investigating supernatural cases in London. I’m finding this series quite fun and am definitely going to try and get through another one or two this year.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – a biographical graphic novel by Satrapi about growing up in Iran after the revolution in 1979. This story is raw and very eye opening and at the same time funny and beautiful. I think this book is quite relevant to read right now especially with the ‘war on immigrants’. We only hear about what the papers report and not things what are actually happening.

Post Office By Bukowski – I haven’t read any Bukowski until now but I did like this book and can see why it’s classed as a classic. Bukowski has a distinctive style and will be definitely be reading some more of his books.

This year I have set my goal for 30, should be doable. I have also set myself the goal to read more of my non fiction books. I have a lot of fashion, style, burlesque and history books I want to read. These books are heavier and so not so easy to carry about and read, so fortunately my ever thoughtful husband got me a kindle for  Christmas so I don’t have to lug books around with me so much and also I prefer big print, so I can get my smaller print books in ebook format so I can read them easier. At the moment I’m reading The Complete works of Oz as I’ve never read them before and it makes for nice reading when travelling about on public transport. Plus it doesn’t get all crumpled and manky in my handbag!

So that is some of my favourite books from last year, what is on your reading list this year? Got any recoomendation?

Waste Management Project

So this isn’t the most catchiest of titles but I was having one of my regular assessments of my supplies stash, it has become apparent I hoard scrap and offcuts because I hate waste and have convinced myself that I will find a use for them, even in the tiniest of projects. So as we’re so earlier in the year, I decided to run a little experiment and see how little waste I could produce in regards to making stuff!

 I feel that it is nearly impossible to have a zero waste result in crafting because there is always going to be some project that goes wrong along the way that ends up non-recyclable/unusable, so my aim is to get it down to the least I can.

But how?

So I’ve been thinking about what to do with shop in regards to stock. I’ve pretty much discontinued the old jewellery lines and I got rid of tonnes of jewellery making supplies because it’s not really my thing. I say that because I prefer working with textiles and fibres so that doesn’t rule out jewellery making as such, it would just be in a different medium. So most of the items I will be making will be with textiles and fibres, I have one last run of flower crowns going into the shop and I think I may be stopping those as well and changing what supplies I use when making new ones.

It’s kind of hard to think of what hasn’t been done already or how I can put my own spin on things and stand out. Sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever find your niche or will kind of be middle of the road forever. Then you have to shake it off and keep searching and experimenting until you find it.

Anyway I digress, where were we, oh yeah scrap hoarding. So what to do with these off cuts and scraps which have mostly accumulated from my clothes making, well usually I would make patchwork quilt or something but I’ve decided to use what I have to make a range for the shop, project bags, hair bows etc and they will probably be lower in price that my other ranges but now I just have to find a catchy title for the range.

So that’s the plan for this year to use up what I have for planned ranges which are already in progress, plus these scraps to hand at the moment, which includes fabrics I’ve already bought for specific ranges, some of which are in progress and just see what happens.

So I know the blogging rules are you’re only supposed to show pictures of your perfectly curated workspace with matching accessories but I will not lie, my tiny space is chaos because well, there is so much stuff, including buckets of vintage which I also sell. So here are some pictures of my current workspace. Now you know why I’m prone to periodic breakdowns, as my business grows so do my supplies and stock but my work/storage space doesn’t, so until I can get a bigger space/studio I need to get a grip on this problem.

So these are pretty much the supplies I need to get through the scraps (though mixed in with a few random bits as I tried to pile these neatly for a photo) are what I need to use up.

Those neatly stacked boxes in the corner are my vintage stock, feel free to buy that and give me some space! Oh and my hoard of art supplies That I intend to start using this year!
I use basket and tubs to keep projects and supplies organised, my aim to have half of these empty by the end of the year or at least filled with stock to sell.
I bought these Sunjellies shopping totes to store projects in but since I trashed my bin by tripping over it and then stomping on it (don’t ask!) and decided to use this as the waste measurement receptacle. This will be filled with the thread and offcuts that come from using up the scraps and offcuts for this project! Though I do actually have a plan to recycle whatever ends up this basket to reduce my waste even more! The goal is to fill this basket as little as possible by the end of the year!

I’ll report back mid year and let you know how it’s going.