Etsy and pesky.
July 31, 2007, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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I’ve been sewing! The last two weekends I’ve been making bags. I’ve made six each weekend, and the first six are up on my Etsy page! I’m very nervous about starting my Etsy page again, but I think it feels like good timing.
I’ve been thinking good and hard about where to go next, in terms of Toast.
Having my own website was great, it looked good, I sold a few things and generated a little bit of interest, but it was hard to maintain and very time consuming to update.
Selling at craft fairs is really, really lovely. I definitely want to continue doing the Craft 2.0 fairs in Wellington, beginning again in December. I love seeing all the other crafties and, as nerve-wrecking as it is, I do quite like meeting the faces behind some of the lovely e-mails I receive and seeing people try on, and like my things. It’s good money and it’s fun.
Consigning in stores, like Dandylion, is a great way to make a relatively steady amount of money, if I keep up to date with stock then it’s usually quite safe to say a few things will sell each month. People get to try things on, touch things and decide while holding the garment if it’s for them or not. Dandy already has its customer base, and its reputation and I like that. I think that’s a big plus, but the biggest minus is of course I really can’t make much money.
Consigning would be a perfect option if I was merely designing the garment and having it made, using wholesale fabrics and without the hour-plus long process of appliqueing. But when each hoodie takes a little more than three hours all up, earning half of the retail price just doesn’t really cover my costs without the retail price becoming quite ridiculous. (Especially if you consider I’m going to have to set up wholesale accounts and buy new fabric soon.)

Where am I heading with this? Basically I need to make a plan.
At the moment I’m on a benefit, with a case manager who makes me jump through hoops to get anything, and refuses to pay for things like counselling etc, and quite frankly I’m ready to start working towards supporting myself. But it all seems so huge. It seems like such a big daunting thing.
Can I tell you a secret? I’ve never really worked.
I had jobs through highschool, working weekends of evenings, but pretty much since leaving high school I’ve never had a job. I’ve been on a benefit, or I’ve been supported by Abraham or my parents. I’ve never had to depend solely on myself to pay all the bills, and cover all the costs, I’ve always just divvied the money up. I’m petrified of earning my own money, and the possibility of not having enough!
There are allowances and grants etc I could go for to get things started, but I need a business plan, and a really good idea of what the heck I’m doing. And frankly I’m freaking out a little.

So here’s my question to you:
Those of you who craft full time (if there are any of you..), can you offer me any advice at all?
(Especially if there’s anyone who doesn’t have a partner…)
And to the rest of you.. do you think it’s a viable option? Do you think crafting is ‘big’ enough these days for so many people to try and make a living out of it? Do you have any advice for me? Should I just keep this as a ‘hobbie’ and go and get a day job? ( or find a balance between the two?)

I think the combination of trying to cut down on internetting, and trying to figure out quite what on earth I’m doing with my life is really not helping the sporadic nature of my blogging, and I’m really sorry about that. I write little blog entries in my head during the day, and I have lots of things planned to show you, but as soon as I sit down to write them I realise I’m missing photos, or I’m running out of time. I’m hoping things will one day run smoothly for me, and my ups and downs will bump together somewhere closer to the middle. Until then, I’m keeping my seatbelt fastened and as I’ve said before, please bear with me!


July 25, 2007, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Part one:

My weekend in Hamilton was lovely.
(I didn’t take any pictures for some reason.. so this one is an oldy.)
I stayed with my dear, dear friend Nick whom I love to pieces.
He’s one of the oddest people I have ever met, and one of the loveliest too.
Nick lives in an old house all by himself. The walls are covered in band posters, song lists from shows, newspaper clippings, pictures of frogs and old coffee sacks.
His pet parrot (or is it a parakeet? lorikeet? I forget. Sorry.) Jacob has his very own room, and another room is dedicated to ‘dining’ but contains glass tanks full of frogs and shelves full of books.
Nick, for reasons unbeknown to me never shuts his doors and windows until he goes to bed. It can be freezing and the doors and windows will stay open until very late in the evening. It takes a fair amount to haggling to get the heater on too. He has a fridge, freezer and multiple pantries FULL of food. He could feed Hamilton in the case of a civil defence emergency. His fridge alone has twelve blocks of cheese in it. And I mean just regular cheese, he also has fancy cheeses.
But all that food doesn’t go to waste. Nick is also one of the most amazing cooks I’ve encountered. He won’t let anyone help him prepare food (I’m allowed to stir things occasionally..) and will rarely even let someone else do the dishes, but he makes the most wonderful things. I was treated to roast capsicum and pumpkin risotto with capers, penne and broccoli with a delightful spicy currant sauce, poached eggs on crumpets, two different types of muffins, blackberry pie, crystallised strawberries… mm.
It was a relaxing weekend and not much was done as such. Catching up with friends, pottering around. and a little shopping.

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These are my favourite things I bought. The wooden bowl was from the recycle centre, the ring from a cheap accessory shop (it was $1!) and the knitted things and new Pyrex were found on the road trip home with my sweet Rachel.
It was such a nice weekend, and such a lovely drive home with Rachie, I had forgotten how amazing it was to be around friends, to be able to relax and be yourself and to be liked and laugh so hard. It’s been quite hard work to come back to Whakatane, the the last week has been a bit of a challenge.

Part two:

It’s been a week of tiredness due to neither myself of Aesop sleeping very well. It’s been a week of struggling with my internet addiction and failing, and struggling with eating well and failing miserably.
But we’re pulling through. I’ve done a little crafting which I’ll photograph on a sunnier day, and we’ve spent a lot of time playing with our new lego (thank you Belinda!) and watching Maisy. We’ve been dressing up (Aesop has a ‘thing’ for funny hats and glasses at the moment..) and we’ve been savouring the happy moments.

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I’ve been doing a healthy amount of oppshopping (thrifting..) and have had some absolutely incredible finds, including today’s lovely lovely fabric haul! For the price of less than one barkcloth curtain on trademe (boo!) I found not one, but four absolutely gorgeous barkcloth curtains with very little fading, in super great condition (see the third, four different gorgeous other pieces of fabric, a few strips of floral annnnnd two half made skirts in my size! So good. It’s amazing what the thrift gods and goddesses send to cheer a girl up on grey day when her overtired, tantrum-filled two-and-a-half year old is screaming loud enough to have people come out of the shops to see what’s going on.

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So with that I’m off again!

July 19, 2007, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My digital camera won’t register any flicker of life when plugged into my computer.
So my pictures of the lovely things I’ve thrifted, I guess won’t be up for a little while.
I was going to write about my weekend away, but for some reason a blog entry is just not a blog entry for me without pictures, however unrelevant they may be.
I’m going to take this as a sign, and I’m going to hand my internet cord over tomorrow and try to take a long and lovely break from the world of internetting. I’m thinking I might try and go a week without this horrid absorbing sphere or activity. (Well, a week without it in my house. I’ll walk to my parents to check once or twice for any ‘important’ e-mails..)
Because while you’re all lovely, this machine really does have more control over me than I have over myself.
So I’ll say adieu, and I’ll leave you for a short time. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I make it, and that I have something to show for it a week from now! x

Another sunny day.
July 13, 2007, 11:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The last few days have been a flurry of books, washing, tantrums and a little bit of sewing.
The annual Salvation Army book fair is on at the moment,  which is both incredibly awesome and really awfully terrible. I love it, but my wallet hates it. I’ve spent more money on books in the last two days than I’ve spent on anything for a long time!
But in some ways there are certainly worse things to spend that money on, like I said to the little old ladies, I guess this week we’ll just be feeding our minds and not our bellies! haha.
But really we got so, so many great children’s books. So many. And I got a book about Historical slang, one about paintings of religious icons, one of vintage NZ posters, one about tv free activities and lots of glossy home and fashion magazines. I also got some cds! (Kinks, skiffle sessions, Paul kelly..).

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To celebrate all of these new books the thrift gods (goddesses?) also gifted us with a new book shelf! Thanks friends! It makes Aesop’s room look like a book store, and we’ve put all of our absolute favourite books on display. (He also has another two level bookcase FULL. We like books!). The best bit was it was really cheap, and delivered too!

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I’m heading off to Hamilton for two nights tomorrow! Yippee! All on my lonesome, and I can’t wait. I’ve been planning this wee break for months now, and while it’s only one full day away it’s exactly what I need. The tantrums and the tiresome task of mothering really does earn a lady a little time away every once in awhile I think. Don’t you agree?
And to celebrate my little mini-vacation I made myself a bag. A not-so-mini tote bag with a plaited handle and inside and outside pockets. It’s big enough to lug around anything I might need to carry and it’s so nice to finally make something for myself as opposed to just keeping the things which aren’t good enough to sell! I’ll be so happy to carry this around, it turned out even better than I could have hoped.

Also, I’ll be listing these two one ‘ball bag’ on Esty after the weekend, unless anyone here is interested. I thought I’d offer to you ladies first as a few of you have mentioned being interested. They’d be US$60 including postage, (NZ$60 and I’ll pay postage..) and I can send you detail pictures if you’d like them. Drop me an e-mail/comment if you’re interested, otherwise they’ll go up on Etsy hopefully Tuesday next week. EDIT: The dark brown one has gone already! Thanks love!

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Have an awesome weekend my lovelies! I know I will! x

The great music rampage of 2007 begins.
July 10, 2007, 10:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My downloading spree started this morning!
I’ve worked my way through most of the list of suggestions, downloading two or so songs from each artist, and giving them a cross for no, or a big circle if I’m going to download more of them.
I thought I’d keep you updated, as a few of you mentioned you might interested in some new music yourselves.
(I must have a bit of a disclaimer though: music is a very, very personal thing. I don’t want anyone to be offended in anyway that I didn’t really love their suggestions, okay? We like what we like, and that’s what makes us lovely.)
Okay, so here is my shortlist so far (with links to where you can download a song or two):
Of Montreal
Andrew Bird
(ooooh soo gooood)
Iron & wine
Joshua Radin
Jamie Cullum
The slackers
Belle & sebastian
Bloc party
The kaiser chiefs
Page france (also amazingly nice.)
The kinks

I still have a few to go, and some I’m getting on disc from Abraham, but these bands are definitely all on the "get more" list! I’m so, so excited to be getting new music, I only have about 700 songs on my creative player (and of course I only ever feel like listening to about half of them) and listening to them over and over and over gets a bit dull…This week is going to be goooood.

Simple things.
July 9, 2007, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Winter is always a time for down-ness it seems, even in those people who aren’t prone to it.
Unfortunately for me, and you might have noticed, I don’t tend to be a glass-full kinda gal at the best of times. Things get to me really easily, and I’m very quick to get down (and not in a dancing kind of way.).
But to remind myself that everything is not lost, despite the fact that I have a namby pamby toddler, I’m failing my course and I suck at sewing, I feel the need to put together little folders and lists of things that are nice in my life, and the world, and things which give me hope. 
Maybe they’ll inspire you somehow too.

* Watching good dvd’s cuddled up in bed. Like Lonely Hearts, The incredibles, The dangerous lives of altar boys, A little trip to heaven.
* Big bowls full of crunchy almond and cranberry muesli with a healthy helping of creamy soymilk.
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Looking at the IKEA website and drooling over storage shelves and cabinets. And then remembering that IKEA is coming to Auckland in the next year or two.

* Re-reading the NZ Land and transport website and realising I CAN get my license afterall, and have been able to get it all along because my Epilepsy fits under the ‘sleep epilepsy’ catagory, making it okay for me to drive! So I’ve been reading the road code and am going to set a date this week to sit my learners exam! I’ll be able to drive to Auckland by the time IKEA comes! ohhhh my!

* Eating picnic lunches and running around empty school playgrounds, in the sunshine, with the two boys in my life.

*Hot cups of soy milk with cocoa and sugar while sitting in the cold computer room checking my e-mails.

* Hellooksminna33Hellooksmiikaandwalktsu Hellookssandra
Reading sites like hel-looks, and other beautiful street style sites and that remind me that despite the disgustingly revolting state of fashion in stores (hello? why does everything look like maternity wear?) there is still hope and there are still people looking incredible, even if I’m not one of them in my ‘anything that is warm and dry’ outfits. ha.

* an extremely delightful idea (and a beautifully set out site) by the lovely Charlotte who brings you Anknel and burblets. I’m all about appreciating NZ bloggers, crafters and craftesses and of course NZ itself. So thanks!

Camelias from our garden! Aren’t they pretty? I love the shape of them and how little they are too. And of course they match perfectly with our table cloth! delightful.

* Having Aesop tell me I’m pretty and that he loves me. Even if it is followed with screaming, yelling and refusing to do absolutely anything. I need to cling to something nice about mothering, because it feels like there’s very little at the moment. He’s also pretty cute with his slang- ‘mum! this is sugary! sugary as!’ and ‘thats good! that’s too much good!’ haha.

*Lunches with real-life friends. Chicken and salad sandwhiches with the most amazing sundried tomato and cashew pesto flavoured hummus. Boys playing with toys, mums having crafty talks and just enjoying having some company.

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The fact that people make shoes that might actually fit my super-sized feet! Yippee. I love willowshoes, and while I’ve never had any shoes from them because I’ve never had enough money, I’ve heard they’re awesome to deal with and the idea of having a website just for gals with big hooves is so great. If I ever win Lotto I’m going straight to there shop.

* Very sweet e-mails from very sweet friends are a perfect way to get out of the dumps. Thanks ladies.

* And msn conversations with relatives far, far away are great too. Love you Jodie.

All in all. There is good in the world, and it almost makes up for things which are crappy.
Have you got anything other lovely cheery uppy things to add to my list?

July 9, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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This is a beautiful teddy bear I found at the opp shop this morning. Her lovely little homemade dress (complete with matching bloomers and a petticoat) is a little faded and worn, her fur is hugged to almost baldness, her arms need resewing on and she could do with a bit of a soak in the tub (so could I actually..)but she’s obviously been so well loved and I just couldn’t leave her in the shop! Look at those beautiful spotty vinyl shoes!
We got up and rushed down to Mr Bo jumbles this morning, to stand outside with the hoards ready for the Monday morningly ritual of looking through all the new goods for the week. Some weeks I go and some I don’t bother. There are usually at least 15-20 people waiting to get in, and some people get so pushy and obsessive. And then there are the people who are going to find things to sell online. Don’t even get me started about them, we all know how I feel about them.
But despite the pushiness and mayhem occasionally there is some real treasure to be found. It’s a little dearer than the oppshops, but sometimes it really is worth it.
Alas… today was not too treasure-filled. I got a skirt, a piece of fabric and this…

Another gorgeous homemade piece of childhood in need of a little TLC! I wish it was in my size.. but now Aesop has two vintage tutus, lets hope he develops a love of dressing up sometime soon! Or perhaps I’ll just have to find a spare piece of wall and hang it up? It does looks nice against that white..