The Purge

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After started writing my last post I sat down and thought a little more about the kind of clothes I like wearing as opposed to the kind of clothes I want to be wearing. You know from other previous posts that I’m also looking towards leading a scaled back and simpler life. Last year I started on an epic clear out, what started off with clearing out a store cupboard of abandoned and broken electrical goods soon escalated to a flat wide project!

My biggest bone of contention is my work, I work from home, ergo my stuff is stored at home and it can make everything feel a little cluttered at time. It also doesn’t help that we’re renting and are limited to what we can do with storage solutions etc. I long for the day I can afford a studio but you know things change and so do business goals and I’m working towards a more streamlined and sustainable work ethic and obviously to start making and saving more money. The first new rule is not to buy any supplies unless I need them for a specific project, no more I’ve had an idea let me get prepared and then let it sit on a shelf for the next two years because I got distracted by something else and we all know how easily I get distracted. The second rule is not to take on any second-hand supplies from family, friends etc no matter how offended they get when I say no. people need to start owning their craft failures and I need to get better at saying no to things. I’m all for recycle and reusing but I also want to go into my craft room without fear of being trapped in a craftalanche!! I have enough supplies to keep me going for now and hopefully as they dwindle down maybe it well help me focus more.

This clear our isn’t a challenge to be minimalist, it’s a challenge to be more mindful about purchases and probably more truthfully to make space for more books and vinyl records! It’s about buying things that will be used instead of intended to use. I’ve bought so many nice clothes, that I like and intended to wear but for a myriad of reasons didn’t and they’re just taking up space, this is probably the last phase of my clear out. Last year I sent loads of DVDs, CDs and books to places like Ziffit and Music Magpie  and earned a few pennies in the process. There is a certain level of guilt that comes with dumping everything in the charity shop and making it someone’s problem especially when you see of the crap donated especially at this time of year, I am definitely guilty of this. You think just because you like something it’s worth something but sometimes it’s just crap!

Anyway back to the case in point, I have decent wardrobe clear out every so often but this time I’m going to try to sell a few bits first to try to earn some funds for new fabric, maybe some new clothes and definitely some new books and records. My wardrobe seems to be heading back to a basic collection of black items with a few pops of colours, outlandish prints seem to be on the wane, though I do still love a fabulous outlandish print now and then. I need to let go of handmade clothes that I’m hanging onto for sentimental reasons, let go of things because I’m convinced I will find a use for them at some point and stop trying to convince myself that at some point I will lose that Christmas weight from five years and fit back into that item again!! So I’m purging my closet and vanity drawers. I sent 18 bras (yes 18) that have been sitting in a suitcase, decent pretty bras that I was convinced would fit again once I lost some weight to Oxfam for their bra programme. I’ve cleared out old socks, underwear and overstretched pyjamas for recycling, I’ve sorted out clothes and accessories to be sold, it’s probably the wrong time of year to try to sell things because everyone is having a new year, new me clear out. Also everyone is broke! But I’m going to try instead of defaulting to me defeatist mode of why would anyone want my stuff. I won’t be listing of eBay just yet as I’ve had to many problems on there, I will on the other hand try insta first, then Depop.

Moving Forward!

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Winter is not my favourite season, yes it has the best natural light out of the seasons with its soft ethereal glow but light is also limited at this time of year and SAD has hit me hard this year and we’ve had quite a bit of grey, overcast skies meaning I’m struggling a little! But on the plus side not too long until winter solstice where I can start celebrating that the days will start getting longer again. I’m like Wall-E, I’m solar-powered and need the sun to function properly and so at this time of year you can find me permanently stationed under my day light lamp!

That aside, I’m also glad this  dumpster fire of a year is nearly over, whilst there have been no major traumas, it’s been one of those years where a slow trickle of this and that with a side of low-level health issues that just eats away at you little by little, and although time is arbitrary and you can start afresh on anything at any giving point, winter kind of puts me into hibernation mode, which is a pretty normal feeling I think. So whilst usually this is a pretty busy time of year for me, this year it isn’t because sometimes that’s just how the economy rolls! It’s been one of those up in the air kind of years in relation to everything, an uneasy feeling of uncertainty and where do go from here? But next year I want to put down roots especially when it comes to work and create a bit more stability for myself.

This year politically has giving me a lot to think about and I can say for certain that it has taught me a lot, mostly about other people but truly what I care about and you know what I do care and if that makes me a snowflake then so be it! Black lives do matter, me too matters, poor people matter, reproductive rights matter, trans rights matter, LGBTQIA matters! And before you skip down to the comments to say everyone matters, you’re totally missing the point! Yes everyone does matter but what we’re focusing on right now are the people who over-privileged asshats think deserve to be erased. It’s the 21st century and we are apparently having to discuss whether people have the right to exist because of their skin colour or sexual orientation!!!! We as a species suck big time! But the flames of the fire are stoked and instead of hiding behinds closed doors these issues are being brought to the forefront and we are dealing with them, there is still a long way to go and I believe things are going to get a lot worse before they get better again but I’m willing to do my bit even if it just being a better human being and providing support where I can!

The thing I’ve learned over my life is that nobody is perfect, we have all done and said things we regret, the thing to focus on is did we learn from it and did we use it to grow and change into a better person? I always find it weird when someone says ‘ooh you’ve changed!’ Like change is a bad thing but nine times out of ten it’s because you’ve outgrown them. Change is good, change is growth, if we do not grow we stagnate. there are a lot of stagnant people in this world! A few posts ago I was taking about comfortable ruts, too many of us are comfortable in our ruts, trust me the world is not going to stop revolving for you, so don’t complain when it leaves you behind!

As always half way through writing a post I realise I may have gone off track slightly but to be honest this year has strayed closely to flying off the rails! But it’s time to refocus on moving forward. It’s not always about making grand sweeping gestures to make changes, sometimes it just requires a tweak here and there and the rest will fall in place. It’s about trying to do better and be better, it’s about refocusing on what is in your heart, your passion, your wants, your needs. it is not about being a people pleaser, there will always be critics telling you you’re doing it wrong, you’re not, they’re just afraid of being left behind.

Turning 40 was weird for me, mostly because getting older does not usually bother me it’s part of parcel of life, in the past I’ve revelled in turned older but this year not so much probably a mid-life crisis on some sort. What have I/have not achieved and all that jazz, the fact that even though I usually to end up pretty much good at anything I try my hand at, I’m not really focused on one thing in particular, I tend to have a jack of all trades approach to my career, to many fingers in too many pies. I guess that’s a drawback to having so many interests, in the grand scheme of things it’s a relatively minor problem and an easy one to fix.

I read an article recently about how 90% of people fail to reach their goals because they basically don’t care enough about reaching them and therefore are not committed to reaching their target. Sounds simple and a no brainer but it was also an epiphany moment. Every year I do the Goodreads challenge in an effort to ream more, every year I never reach the target because it dawned me the challenge itself takes the joy out of reading. You find yourself so eager to finish each book so you can start on the next that it takes the enjoyment out of actually reading the book. Whilst I encourage reading all the books you can, it’s also important to enjoy the book your reading. All these things when said out loud sound easy but it’s so easy to lose sight of why we do things in the first place. I don’t think the current climate of social media helps, everything is based around numbers and whilst numbers can be important they can also be meaningless and empty. We’re so busy trying to reached number goals we forget the actual goal. There are so many dos and don’ts to blogging, to being self-employed to life that we forget to focus on what we actually want, the things that we care about, the things we want to do.

If I had to pick a buzzword for next year it would be focus. I’m not really into resolutions and whatnot but I think it’s good to have something to aim for or not depending on what tickles our fancy but focus is something I’ve never really had, I’m easily distracted and forget what the task in hand is supposed to be, so I’m going to focus which I guess after this rambling blog post would be a good thing, so thank you if you made it this far. I’m working on finer details of next years projects but will mostly be working on setting up my second Etsy shop, designing and making stuff for that. I know it will take a little longer than my previous work but that’s okay, I want to focus on improving my skills especially when it comes to sewing and photography. So I guess that is my theme for 2018, refocusing and putting down roots!

Photo: Taken by me in Montreal, Quebec.

Stuck In a Rut!

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You know when you’ve been stuck in a rut for so long it actually becomes comfortable? For no one reason in particular I have not been making things, no sewing of own clothes, no making things for my new shop, I’ve been procrastinating like a boss though!

For a workaholic I don’t actually get much done, I appear to be stuck on a merry-go-round of routine and same old, same old and whilst everything is the same, I don’t feel very defined in myself or dedicated for that matter. I seem to float on a weird air of whimsiness that everything will all fall in place at some point and I will find my place in this business. I am probably fooling myself on this front, in fact I know I am.

I flit between projects, never able to fully concentrate or focus, I have too many ideas and forever want to move onto the next thing before the last thing is finished. Last count 25 unfinished sewing projects for my wardrobe. Most of them no longer fit, that is another story, for another time.

What was a well-intentioned break, turned into a creative block, whether it was intentional or not I froze when it came getting back into creating. The block turned into a rut that I just ignored until it got comfortable but I’m not very good with comfort when it comes to work I like challenge. What caused the block? Turns out fear of mediocrity! No one wants to be just good at something or be okay with being average, we are not conditioned to be okay with being average and not be average is a hard order to fulfill.

As always I talk to my husband, he is a good listener, sometimes you don’t need advice you just need someone to listen. I have found over the years people are not very good listeners but they love to give advice, especially in areas where they have no knowledge. I could go either way when it comes to work, be über on trend or take a risk and be über niche. He says always be yourself, that is the only advice anyone needs to hear, unless you’re an arsehole then don’t be yourself but being yourself is kind of hard especially when everyone else is telling you how to be and you’re doing it wrong, the voices are loud because everyone is an expert.

So I’m filtering out the voices, internal and external, I’m slowly erasing the doubt embedded in my psyche, I’m going to step out of my comfortable rut and just create. It’s easier said than done and even though it’s been said many times before, it doesn’t hurt to say it again but don’t be afraid to step off the beaten track to find your inspiration, don’t be afraid to believe in yourself.

Photo: taken in grafitti alley in Toronto, ON.

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.

Work Update

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I wasn’t really planning on doing many work updates on here at the moment as you if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’re probably bored of me bleating on about photography and listing all the time but I figure I should do an update anyway, as I haven’t had much time for blogging at the moment trying to keep up with work.

My new shop is a little delayed because I don’t want to start any new projects because I didn’t want to start any new projects whilst trying to finish old ones for the main shop and end up overwhelmed with work again. I’ve pretty much loaded up all old handmade stock except for a few bits that need finishing or photographing but the number is quite small so that can wait whilst I work on uploading all the vintage stock piling up and also it appears that it is doing rather well and I should probably concede and just concentrate on setting that up first before dedicating time to anything else.I hope I haven’t jinxed myself by saying that but it finally seems I’ve made a good business decision for once.

When that’s pretty much down to a minimum, I’ll be able to dedicate some time to work on new designs properly, rather than half starting things and then not get round to finishing them. So it real terms I’m probably not likely to start on the new shop until probably June or July, which is okay because it’s for a good cause. I’ve also pretty much given up all my challenges so I can concentrate on work, yes I’m back to workaholic mode, I’m even writing this whilst poorly because there is no rest for the wicked or sick when you’re self-employed! But on the plus side I am enjoying my work even if it does leave me a little worn out at times.

So that’s it really on the work front, concentrating on building up Natasha de Vil Vintage, I love vintage as you know, I have learnt that everything sells eventually because there is something for everyone out there, you just need to be patient and it’s paying off. I’ve sold in the past but only personal stuff but I’m really enjoying hunting out stuff for shop and sending things off to new homes around the world. Who knew that my talent involved shopping!

Anyway So thanks for bearing with me and I’m planning on getting back to a regular blogging schedule in May!

Natasha x