Monday, 22 June 2015

Living at the Speed of an Insect

I'm one of those people that lives and eats like an insect: fast and sugar only.  As I get older I'm trying to learn to slow it down, appreciate things more, vary my diet and not expect everyone to respond to my texts/emails/wassap instantaneously.  It's not going well.  When I quit the rat race a few months ago I started working on a couple of collections, I didn't get any feed back and I started to lose heart.  That feedback has finally come and things are moving forward in a super positive way.

The problem with living like this is that if you don't get a response when you expect it (like, now), you think that it must be for a negative reason - the respondent has died for example, or maybe, and a less extreme example, they just think you had a horrible idea and are now hoping that if they ignore you, you'll go away.

What I'm trying to say is don't be disheartened fellow insects, if you've finally got the guts up to email that publisher/magazine/organisation that you want to get involved with, and it's a few weeks down the line and they still haven't got back to you. They're busy people.  If you've had a good idea, they will.  You just need to slow it down and be patient.

All of these pics are little peeks from the new collections.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Pattern Giveaway

Dear Blogsphere,

To celebrate summer I got together with the lovely Poppies & Polkadots to make some free sunglasses case patterns for you all.  It was technically supposed to be just one, but I got carried away.


The loveheart pattern is called 'John&Olga', here's why: they are my grandparents, both well in to their 80's and they've been together for over 60 years.  When my grandpa proposed, they were sitting on a hill top together, he had no ring to give my grandma so made one from the forget-me-nots that were growing around them.  Whilst flower foraging recently I came across a pink and a blue forget-me-not, and these along with their story was the inspiration for the simple, loveheart design case.

Anyway, the gorgeous yarn and hooks can all be found at Poppies & Polkadots, and the patterns are there for you to download for free right now.  Free Glasses Case Patterns.  Enjoy your summer!


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Nourishing Your Creativity

What I'm having to come to terms with, is that I'm not a great blogger.  I like meeting people, and talking to them!  I'm not unhappy with my written 'voice' but I really am all about physical, human interaction.  But let's not forget the visuals, I'm ALL about the visuals.  Words just can't do justice to the delight and beauty that I see in things around me, or the effect that they have on me on so many levels, but I can capture and share some of that.  So I shall continue with the blogging and hope to carry on meeting like minded lovelies.

On the theme of delightful and beautiful things, this really is where I get a lot of my inspiration.  I find collecting images feeds my creativity - those little snap shots sink in to your subconscious, and weeks later, when you're out picking yarn for a new bag or hair bow, they come back out.  So if you ever wonder if the compulsive need to photograph things is unhealthy, or what the borderline breaking and entering to steal a flower from a rail waysiding is for, remember: it's nourishing your creativity.

Here are some of my faves from this week: 1. A stolen flower from a rail way siding.  2. The shadow from a coil of ribbon.  3. Gifts from my love.  4. The colour of the sea sent me straight home to this ball of cotton yarn


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Share Your Creativity

When I recently set out to 'get involved with social media' I didn't really understand what I was supposed to do.  I started posting things on Instagram, faffing with this blog more, and poked around on facebook joining makers groups.  But I still didn't get it.  I knew there were amazing makers out there, I'd been looking at their feeds, but I wasn't entirely sure of how I was supposed to 'connect' with them, or why.

You'll know about my Instagram addiction by now, but it's for a very good reason.  I started following people who made things I liked.  I eventually got the courage up to leave comments on their feeds, and now, a few months in, I finally 'get it'.  I love the little group of friends I have in this crazy, virtual, visual world.  I look forward to their comments and seeing bits of their lives.  I love the fact that they range from Melbourne to Norwich.

It's not about networking in the old fashioned sense, which is what I thought people were going on about, it's literally just about making like minded friends, and every now and then something will spark and you'll suddenly have a collaboration or a commission.

In fact this week I did my first hashtag for makeitsewcial - a lovely curated collection by craft genius Alison Sadler, and won maker of the week.  It was honestly as exciting as passing my driving test or giving birth, and from it I've met even more new like-mindeds, it's brilliant.

I finally understand that the more you share your creativity with the world, the more you share the worlds creativity.

 My makeitsewical bag

Friday, 29 May 2015

12 Weeks

My blog posting is clearly still erratic at best, I shall blame the half-term...

They say that it takes 12 weeks to form a new habit,  I left the real world of work just over 12 weeks ago, and if you'd asked me at the beginning of May I'd have said I'd made a terrible mistake.  I was missing my work pals (still do), the lack of a reliable income was agonising, and those crows that I were hoping would bring me presents just hadn't come through.  I kept going though - cobbling together articles, making more patterns for a brief I'd set myself, greedily grasping for those lovehearts on Instagram.

Now, it's like an invisible anxiety weight has been lifted.  I'm in the groove of this new way of life.  Sure we don't have as much money, but we're getting by.   I miss my work friends, but I'm making new ones in the school playground, the crows can do what they like...  But I'm in talks with my publisher about the next book, the teacher training will start soon, I can fit the evening classes around the boys, and the little admin job for the indie yarn company needs just a tiny bit of tweaking and it'll be there.

The garden is finally feeding us (well, a little bit, but it all helps), I get to be home when the boys are ill or the school is closed for an unexpected burst pipe (true story) without feeling the crippling guilt of not going to the office.  I'm not floored from exhaustion all the time from commuting, school runs, dinner making and bedtimes.

The point is that it was really hard and frightening to make that leap, and you will be racked with dread that it wasn't the right thing to do, but it really is worth it. You'll never know unless you try.

 Trialling new yarns for the next book

Just being able to spend time altogether xxx

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Instaddict - why do I NEED the lovehearts?!

In trying to 'up my online profile' in a bid to make the world aware of me, what I do, and ultimately, pay me to do it, I have started an instagram account.  In fact I opened one ages ago because I liked the way it made my pics look.  I never hashtagged anything, I didn't look at anyone else pics, I just made pretty pictures and was content.

Then I became unemployed, cough, I mean 'freelance' and the world of social media beckoned.  So I dutifully started hashtagging some of my crochet bits and all of a sudden the lovehearts slowly started to appear, then 17 followers (my friends) went up to 18 followers and the chemical addiction properly began.  I spent three months in a wild frenzy of trying to gain more followers, but more importantly - the lovehearts.  I NEEDed them, they somehow validated my existence, I was so greedy for them I became consumed in posting all the pics I was taking just to get the next loveheart fix.  And then the first day I lost a follower... If you'd told me that I would be genuinely heartbroken that someone I didn't know and had never met, wouldn't be interested in seeing pictures of my children playing on the beach I would have laughed in your face.   But oh the tragedy!  Oh how bereft I was!

I will admit that I am still an instaddict.  But I have calmed down. The frenzy is over and now I only post once (ok, maybe twice) a day.  I do still spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the best way to take a picture, but as someone that sells an aesthetic object, it's actually been a really valuable process to discover my visual voice.

And yes, last week I did find myself in my pajamas at 8am taking rhubarb porn, but I promise I'm getting better.

oh and p.s. the new doily pattern can be found on my Etsy shop, I properly love it :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Good Things Come to Those Who Try

Well, it has been a productive week in the world of making money from crochet!  I say that, I've made exactly no money at all, but it's not always about the short term gain, sometimes it's about the long term game.

The very lovely Bibelot Magazine have happily published my first attempts at 'journalism' - you can read it here.  It was such a childish impulse to join in that made me email them in the first place, just to say how lovely they are and that I'd love to work with them somehow.  After a few emails back and forth working out ideas, I pulled this little piece together and that was it!  What it's given me is the confidence to do more, hone my style and punctuation and keep going.  Who knows, one day maybe I'll get paid for it, but for now it's just gratifying to know that people don't hate it.

Now, the other non-immediate-money-making-thing: I applied to be a teacher for adult evening classes, teaching crochet.  They weren't advertising for crochet teachers, they were looking for knitters, but I thought it was worth asking, and they said 'fill out the form', so I did.  Astonishingly I got a first interview, and after giving a mini-teaching session to a Spanish teacher, a man that knows all about seizures and a sewing machine specialist, I got through to the formal interview, and have been asked to join their list of tutors, with a specialism in 'modern' crochet.  Next step is to get my teacher training qualifications (which they will pay for) and start teaching at various colleges in September. 

The moral of this story is just to try.  The very worse thing that can happen is that people will say 'no', but you won't have lost anything.  It just takes an email, and if you're too scared to send that email, write the thing and get someone else to click on send for you.

 Made this little basket as a demo piece

Getting all the hooks together for the mini lesson