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

eb730-12093412_527265030764531_366711688_n

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.

April Round Up

100_4833

Kinda gutted we didn’t go to VLV20 this year but also happy not to be travelling to the US with the current travel ban in place and Trump as so-called president! But there were plenty of other things to keep me occupied.

I did my accounts and taxes, boring I know but I like to get them out the way, future me is always thankful around January when everyone else is having a breakdown before the deadline!

I’m still stocking up the vintage shop, it appears my decision to turn it into a vintage only shop is working in my favour. April was my second best month takings wise since I opened up the shop two and half years ago. I have to say I’m a little surprised but glad some of my decisions and non-stop working are paying off. On the other hand this means I’m a little behind on blogging and starting on designing stuff for the new shop, which looks like more to be a June start because I have about 250 odd items to photograph, edit and list. So do I do it all in one fell swoop so I can properly concentrate on designing or split my week in half which I’m going to have to end up doing at some point anyway?

I’ve also been spring cleaning the flat and had a massive tidy up and clear out and am going to start filling up my Depop shop soon. In the past I’ve been a bit sentimental about my handmade clothes, that and I’m not sure they’re good enough to sell (although I have sold some in the past) but I might as well take a chance and try to sell off some of the stuff that is too big or too small, along with some other bits. My Depop username is NatashaDeVil if you fancy having a butchers at what I’ll be selling. There will be lots like out of print magazines, jewellery, make up, shoes etc from my non vintage collection. Anything vintage will go in the Etsy shop.

I actually got back into sewing this month. The real reason I stopped was continual weight gain due to food intolerances but I think I may have got a handle on that now. It now means I’m probably classed as a fussy eater but I don’t care, I need to do what’s good for me. I’m not going to go into too much because I think there is already too much talk about body standards and people need to stop policing and judging people on the size of their body. Health is important, people’s opinions on what size your body should look to be considered healthy is not!

I quit a lot of my challenges! At the time they all seemed liked good ideas for motivating me in my work and projects but work and life has a habit of taking over and I could do with out the extra pressure. So I didn’t finish the journaling course which my heart wasn’t in any way because the topic didn’t really speak to me, also I have enough of my plate with the challenges of running a business, setting up a new business and all the other life’s curve balls that keep coming our way. I  have enough to keep me busy and when you can’t find time for the things you want to enjoy or all the pressure makes you sick (I ended up sick on the may day bank holiday instead of finishing sewing my dresses!), it’s probably best to cut back a little and concentrate on just a few things instead. At the end of the day the only person you are in competition with is yourself! I know I repeat myself a little in the blog or say things that have already been said by others but it always serves as a good reminder especially to myself.

There’s been a lot of talk recently from long-standing bloggers about the good old days of blogging when we weren’t ruled by DAs, GAs and other whatnot stats. It was less competitive and more community like. To be honest after 8 years I still blog like it’s 2009, I ‘ve tried to keep up but my hearts not in it enough to lose sleep over. I blog when I want to or when I have time, I blog about the stuff I want to, I will always have non clickbait blog titles, I will probably never be sponsored and have an audience of three people. I get that my blog is a bit of a mix but I only like to share the things that I truly like and I’m happy with that and it’s about finding people who you can connect with rather than sell things to. Don’t get me wrong I’d be happy to do a review of something if it’s connected with one of the topics in this blog but it would be honest but for now you’re getting posts on making clothes, vintage stuff and additions to my vinyl collection! I’d go on about the Instagram saga as well but you probably already know about that, at the end of the day I’ve always kept it honest and that’s probably why I have such a small following but at least they are people I can connect with and have something in common with.

We re-watched Twin Peaks, well I re-watched by The Goth watched through in full for the first time to catch up before the new series starts, turns out it had been so long since I last watched it I’d forgotten half of series 2! And I’ve probably decided that I will get a subscription to watch as I love the series too much to hide from spoilers for that long. Might sound a little extreme getting another TV subscription to watch a series but no different from all buying the box set or episodes off Prime or something.

Finally got to see Gutterdammrung: The Loudest Silent Movie on Earth after it had been postponed and rescheduled several times, it finally found a home at the Palladium, it was good but I think with all the waiting and feeling under the weather I was little underwhelmed. It probably didn’t help the lead singer of the band was just over the top and clichéd! But Josh Home with a bazooka kinda made up for that!

And that was April, sorry for the complete rambling, turns out I had a lot more to say than I thought!

Natasha x

 

 

 

 

Save

March Catch Up

march round up

So what happened in march? Well lots of changes for a start. As you know I’ve been working towards to making Natasha de Vil on Etsy a vintage only shop. I managed to finish most of the old stock bad and some of it loaded up. I also opened up Tasha Campbell Designs, not loaded up anything yet but if you could over and give a like that would be great. I also changed my Twitter and Instagram handles, which felt a little weird I have to say. When you’ve been known by one persona for so long I did get a little sentimental but a change that needed to happen. And then I moved the blog to here, its new home. I’ve never been too convinced by Bloggers stats analysis, then my google analytics broke and I couldn’t be bothered to fix it. I think WordPress is a little more reliable even if it is a bit depressing at times but I guess one reader is better that no readers!

I also crashed out of my #365project as I wasn’t happy with my posting pics under pressure and also poor planning on my part. Admittedly the only pressure is coming from me but in a bid to make my life simpler and basically to not fill my feed with poorly lit, grainy late night shots of this project, I changed it. I also cleared out my feed of the pictures I did not like, sounds a tad dramatic but it’s actually my work/blog feed, my personal account not too worried about but I took inspiration from Erin Venness’s post and decided to try to document my work better. I also took a small break to let me recompose my thoughts and aims on this to promote my new work.

My spring clean/clear out is going well,  all the stuff I no longer use personally is piled up and ready to be sold to raise a little cash and everything else will be recycled. I’m a little behind schedule on this but I’m finally feel like I’m getting somewhere and will start loading those up this month!

Sales went up after the dreaded Feb slump mostly stuff on sale which was good because it meant things were finally shifting and more space for me! I have set up a new shop which I haven’t started working for yet because I’ve mostly been trying to clear out and upload old handmade stock and have been a running an uber bargain sale to try to run stock down, it worked, I got rid of a lot of stuff, albeit uber cheap but I beat my sales targets for the financial year and March was my third best month, so a nice end to the financial year. Going to work on setting new target for this year and get my taxes out the way!

I didn’t finish any clothes or start any new projects because of well see above but also I’ve been on a fitness regime to get fitter and stronger and my body shape is slowly changing and I want to wait before making any more and then having to alter everything.  I can also climb stairs without wheezing! However, I have joined the #vintagepledge this year and just taken stock of a massive batch of vintage patterns a few I might keep for myself for the pledge!

Went to a few gigs, saw De La Soul  at the beginning of the month and were awesome I’m so happy I got to them live. At the end of the month we headed back to the Roundhouse to see Goldfrapp, it’s been a while since I last Goldfrapp perform but just as good as the last time, also played all my favourite tracks which was a bonus. Couldn’t dance much as I had joint flare up but still really enjoyed the gig.

Got my tattoo almost finished.

floral blackwork tattoo

So what’s my plan for April? I guess I’m going to take it down a notch, I have a few loose ends and upload the last of the old stock to the shop to take care of but then I’m going to recharge a little before moving onto new stuff. Designing takes time, carving out your own style and niche takes time, my crafting skills are good but it’s kind of redundant when you’re producing the same work as everyone else, so time to focus on working on my style, so I’m starting an art journal. I’m also bringing back various old post subjects to the blog and working on uploading all the new vintage stock I’ve acquired over the last few months.

 

February Catch Up

February is my least favourite month of the year mainly because it’s the last dregs of winter and I can’t wait for spring to arrive, it’s also the quietest of business months because everyone is broke from the January sales and Christmas, I’m broke because of the sales and Christmas! Though this year work wise was even better than last year, so that is something to hold on to. But all in all over the years for whatever reason, February is not one of my favourite months, so I try and keep busy as possible, like sorting out stuff for the shop. I have loads of stock to load up, handmade and vintage but with the sky set to apocalyptic grey since the middle of January, taking half decent photos has been a mare and with a slow and steady stream of sale coming through the online inventory became a little low, which I don’t worry about as I said it’s a slow month. On my list of things to do this year is to get to grips with stock photography
But it’s also a good time to review stuff. I’ve hit a sort of creative crossroads recently which was fine when I was distracted by the busy season but then when you have sit and decide what to do next and you’re not really sure what to do next. I think my problem is I started out too broad and now I’m not sure what I’m doing. I wonder if I’m ever going to find my path or my niche or both even but I had a little chat with The Goth and we wandered round the Records and revolutions exhibition and came to some decisions. When your self employed and a solo worker, it’s always good to talk ideas and concerns out loud with someone else, even if it’s just them lending an ear, just sounding them out can help a lot. I guess why I use this blog a lot to talk about what I’m doing and want to do it helps keep my head clear. Turns out I’m not really heading in the direction I originally intended and so I’m taking a little timeout to clear out stuff and supplies, and will keep listing  and making until they have been used up. I’m also working on a new shop and a rebrand hopefully to coincide with the new financial year maybe sooner but you can read all about it here but it’s time to implement those changes rather than just talking about them all the time, so March is going to require a lot of hard work and a vat full of extra strong coffee!
So what else has been going on?
Well I finally got to see Skunk Anansie play live! I’ve been trying over the last few years to see bands I missed out on when I was younger and SA were one of them. They played at the Brixton Academy and were amazing and I don’t think Skin has aged one day and now I want a sparkly tracksuit! I also picked up a signed copy of the album.
My dad turned 60 an my sister in law turned 40! Actually even though I’m not on FB at the moment a lot of people (mostly old school friends) are turning 40 this year. I’m turning 40 this year but I’ll be writing about that later.
We went to see the Records and revolutions at the V&A which was very inspiring and quite appropriate in regards to the current political climate. there was so much to see it took us nearly two hours to get round reading and looking at everything.
I made/finished the following things
Finally finished the

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots cardigan.

Alpha Beta Gaga Dress

Started and (and by the time I got round to writing this post finished) Hazy Shade of Winter Sweater. I still need to work on my gauge, I swatched and it still ended up bigger than it was supposed, although it does still need blocking. I think I just prefer my sweater a little snugger, so whilst I decide whether to frog and reknit, I’m going to knit another shortly, a size smaller and a bit longer!
So that was February, not a lot to report but productive nonetheless. Spring is almost here and I’m having a massive clear out, so I guess that’s what I’ll be talking about next month. Let me know what you’ve been up to!

Natasha x