Sunday, 11 September 2016

Things and stuff.

Now I'm actually working at this for my livelihood, it's terrifying. Seriously.   Being self-employed and on a tiny income scares the proverbial out of me on a daily basis.  But... on another level it's somewhat empowering.

I don't have any of those awkward-to-deal-with colleagues.  (And really, I'v had to deal with some toxic workmates in the past.)  No boss, whether nasty or nice.  And I get to do something I really enjoy and am good at.   While I believe everyone should have the chance to do something they really want to do, I do realise there are plenty of people who don't, or can't, for whatever reason.  

So yes, I think I wouldn't change it.  I think I'm where I want to be.  And it's beginning to have a positive effect on my mental health.  I feel less depressed these days - and mornings are usually pretty tough for me, just to get myself moving.  My housemates say I've been more cheerful and much perkier lately.  The anxiety remains, and that's intense at times, almost crippling, but on a bad day I can actually take a rest, or nap, or pick up something therapeutic which isn't 'work'.

Hmm,  well I didn't mean to blather on in quite the way I have. It's a meandering route to the purpose of this post.   I've been thinking of things to do, to add to my little micro-business.   I trained formally in art, specialising in textiles, and I can do more than just sew dolly clothes. Much as I LOVE doing that,  I have been working seven days a week on my swing patterns and dolly fashions.  I decided I needed my weekends off, like regular folks, but the thing is - all I want to do is make stuff, or be creative. I get WAY much more enjoyment out of sewing, painting, or crafting than I do from taking the day out to watch TV.  I don't socialise because my agoraphobia is really a social phobia. I hang out with my housemates and we have a laugh.  They're awesome and made of the epic win, but I don't like mixing with people any more than that.

So. The weekends have been spent away from dolly things, but still in the creative vein. I had so much fun with finding things to make, and I have all these ideas crammed into my head now, that I'm going to be adding more things to my Etsy store before my head bursts. Hopefully.  Actual handmade things.   I  h o p e  they'll sell and supplement my income a bit.  I get very quiet weeks when the patterns don't sell, so I need to be a bit more productive.

With all this in mind, I bashfully include pics of some of the things I've been working on. Accessories for proper human-sized people.  Not little plastic ones.

So far I've worked out a pattern for fingerless gloves in soft stretchy jerseys,  hair barrettes and fabric cuff bracelets - both in  in applique and straightforward sewing with lovely fabrics.  I've also got plans for some make-up bags, pencil cases etc, and even some art.  All exquisitely made little items and gifts. I have a few more ideas too, but won't list them here, or I'll feel pressured and will be too freaked out to make them.

(There's the rub.  If I say I'm thinking of doing something people are really kind and encourage me, but with my anxiety my brain translates it into pressure!)

Any old hoo, here's a couple of pics of some of the items I'll be adding to my Etsy store.

Here are some cuffs and hair barrettes.  I have a pile more since taking these, so I'll have some pretty and varied stock items to list on Etsy. (I think  if you click on these pictures you can enlarge them.)

And some more barrettes. Some of these will be stick barrettes (I have yet to make the sticks, but I have it covered) or they'll have french hairslide blanks attached to them.  These are SO MUCH FUN to make.

They're also stiffened, and are flexible. I don't use card, as it folds and creases, eventually deteriorating inside the layers of fabric;  but what I do use is a trade secret! An environmentally friendly one at that.

Mostly I suck at everything, but I know I can sew.  I can sew like the wind.  And very neatly.  These items won't be cheap throwaway things. They're all beautifully hand finished.  Most are hand sewn all the way through (only the applique itself is done by machine) and I sew all my bias bindings by hand.

Here's how fabulous my hand sewing is, right...  first my backstitch: (So hard to get good close-up pictures.)

And this is the reverse side of my backstitch.  Tricky to keep neat, but I'm very happy with this.

I'm not the kind of person to go blowing my own trumpet. I get really shy when praised, but I can sew incredibly well, and if that helps to sell my work, then all the better.  Sometimes you have to big yourself up a bit.

I've also renewed my relationship with my beautiful sewing machine.  I've discovered the joys of applique again. My gorgeous, GORGEOUS, Brother AS 10 isn't the top of the range, but it sews beautifully and I have posted on Facebook confessing that I kiss it goodnight when it gets put away.   Which I totally do.   I haven't named it yet though.

But that's probably only a matter of time.

My housemate inspired me to try applique. She's an artist too and she made a fabulous  sunrise banner for her daughter to take to the V festival.   She gave me a bag of scraps from her project and I made them into a cuff bracelet.  It's so pretty, I'll have a hard time parting with it.

Here's my applique, the first I tried in YEARS.  But my lovely sewing machine enabled me to make a really neat job of it. I love it when it's still at the messy stage.    I must try to do some 'messy' art soon.

And here it is trimmed up a bit, and i'm applying the binding. I don't like machine sewing the binding.  With hand sewing, you have perfect control, and I'm borderline OCD, definitely obsessive,  so it's a fab outlet for my strange little foibles.

I'll show the finished item in another post.

In the meantime, here's a piece of art I just had to get out of my system. I took the week off to produce this, and had a couple of tantrums with it, but  a lot of fun too. I love to problem-solve and make artistic decisions.   This piece was a bit of a challenge and I learned a couple of new tricks in the making.  It's a 10" by 10" square, padded, and mounted on an artists  canvas stretcher.

The smaller heart is actually a brooch, and can be removed from the piece. It's sooo pretty,  and was such fun to make, that I might make some more.

This is a shot of the larger heart in the process of being made.   The applique for this was lovely to sew. I like to work small hence the dolly stuff, and I did once have my own business making and selling jewellery.  things like beadwork and silversmithing stood me in good stead for a lot of small scale work.  One of my favourite things to do, is to make smaller standalone elements to add to my artwork - like this larger heart.

So that's it for now.  I have some art that I've always wanted to try selling. I'm in the process of finishing things off, evaluating them, staring at them, and patting my sewing machine in passing.  But I will be photographing and listing them soon.  

Hope you enjoyed the show and tell!  


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