imogenwilsonjewellery

Walk with me, every step of the way as i try to grow my teeny craft business into something sustainable… watch this space!


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Down in the Garden Shed…

Along with everything else going on at the moment making my head spin, we decided a wee while ago that we need to move. What’s a girl with a home studio to do!? We currently live in a 2 bedroom house up a million stairs (which will be much harder to navigate when I’m very pregnant or with a pram). It isn’t very large, but it has been a good size for my husband and I, too small for two and a half people though.

This kicks up a whole host of questions, problems and creative solutions for the ‘at home self employed jeweller’. Do we look for a three bedroom house which will cost quite a bit more, or a two bedroom with better access and I share an offsite studio with someone else…

The three bedroom will probably cost more than an offsite studio but I will have the luxury of working any time night and day (with the baby asleep in the next room, or playing on the floor…) a luxury the offsite studio does not provide. However I like the idea of it being a more serious work area, not mixing home and work too much so I keep focused and serious about what I’m trying to achieve. I tried to mix these two ideas together… what about a two bedroom house with a shed on the property. Now I’m not talking about a cold, damp, small, dark, garden shed. But something a bit more flash… with electricity, insulation and (at least one) window! Seems like the perfect solution to me (although of course a big catch would be finding a property with a big enough yard to house this magical dream shed) I researched it and it is very doable, as I’m sure you can imagine… but is VERY expensive and not hugely easy to move when we decide in coming years that we have to move (as we will be renting, not buying). There is also the awfully annoying fact that the range of a baby monitor probably won’t stretch to my wee creative shed… but I really do love the idea.

Roald Dahls shed

Roald Dahl’s shed

Back to the drawing board it seems.

We have looked at many houses over the last couple of months and I’m starting to feel a bit like goldilocks. One is too small, then one is too cold, where is the one that’s ‘just right’? I got so worried that my girth would increase to a size that would make me very unhelpful by the time we find somewhere perfect that I have started packing boxes now, while I still can, and I’m quite surprised how calming it is. It’s also quite nice having a good ‘ol cull. Still no idea where we’re moving too of course, or when, but at least my books are packed…

 

 

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Luke, I am your Father…

I just wanted to start this blog with a wee thank you to everyone for their kind messages. I received a barrage after my last blog, through email and Facebook from both acquaintances and strangers, telling me their own pregnancy, and crafting with children stories. It was lovely to have such encouragement and for you to take the time to share your experiences with me. I also wanted to assure you that this blog will continue to be about being a self employed maker, not become a pregnancy blog… although at times (like the blog below) it will be vital that the two overlap, as my circumstances and the way I go about my day to day has changed.

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It took me the better part of the first trimester of my pregnancy to come to terms with the juggling act that my life had become. That sentence originally read ‘was about to become’ but I decided to change it to ‘had’ as something that surprised me most about pregnancy was the immediate life change that occurs from day one. I have many friends with children and babies and none of them had ever talked to me about pregnancy in, what I consider to be, an honest way. I’m talking about the bad stuff. Perhaps the difference between us is I complain and they don’t… either way… from day one all I did was eat, cry and pee. I lived in the kitchen in a way I never expected. I love food, always have… life has always centred around food for me, so what a surprise it was when all I wanted to do was eat, but the idea of food and the act of eating was boring. It was constant and it was hard to achieve anything when I was either preparing food, eating food or cleaning up the kitchen after I’d finished (rinse & repeat) at all times of the day. Awfully hard to make jewellery stock for after the baby comes (or even to fill current orders) when I couldn’t stay away from the kitchen for 5 minutes. Add to that getting up three times a night (at least) to use the bathroom, means not getting much sleep and having to stay in bed till quite late most days… not very productive sadly. Just after coming to terms with the fact the business might suffer in the long run (you know, in 9 months) I came to realise it had already started to suffer… and there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do about it. I decided to be proactive. A lot of what I do involves smelly glues, sprays and varnishes. So off I went to the safety store to buy myself a proper protective mask so that baby (and I) would be protected from the barrage of toxic smells. It’s something I should have done a long time ago, although in my defence I don’t usually sit around amongst the smell. I glue and then leave the room, but it’s not a chance I feel I can take any more, now that I’m growing someone else’s brain for them… it all seems a bit more important.

My sexy new mask

My new, not so sexy, Darth Vader mask

I decided instead of stressing myself out with could have, should have, and would have been- I’d map out the year. New products for Imogen Wilson Jewellery, Ex Libris and Major Tom, what they would be, what I needed to do and buy to make them happen… when they would need to be photographed, and released and how I would tell the shops I stock that I would be on maternity leave right over the busiest time of the year (Christmas) and how I would deal with it. So really mapping out over a years worth of work to complete in six months… what’s stressful about that?

Must be time for a lie down…


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Baby on Board

You may have noticed I have gone quiet recently on the blog front. I started the year slowly, finding it hard to get back into it after truly relaxing over Christmas, as my tardy first blog post explained. I re-organised with new shelving determined that would be the kick in the bum I needed to get moving. It worked for a short time but my energy levels just weren’t there, the motivation was gone.

I was still making stuff, doing my accounts, emailing and filling online orders… but the motivation to write about it, and the passion and excitement behind it… gone. Then I started sleeping more than normal, eating more than normal… and worrying what was becoming of me. Had the freedom of working from home finally sunk in, to my detriment?

Yes and no. I discovered I was pregnant.

What followed was bucket loads of tears and more hormones than you could shake a stick at. I was happy; this is what I had wanted, what we were trying for… it was a good thing. Then why did I feel like such a failure? Mixed in with the joy, an impending dread filled the pit of my stomach. Why did I feel like this? It took me over a month to figure it out, and even longer to admit it to myself… or say it out loud. I felt like I had given up on my dream. Like by having a baby, I was taking the easy road out. Don’t get me wrong, I know having a baby isn’t going to be *easy*, I just mean an easy way of ducking out of self employment, like I hadn’t really given being fully self employed a good enough shot.

Origami Pram By Dominik Meissner

Origami Pram By Dominik Meissner

A mixture of this overwhelming sense of failure, mixed with a mild case of all day ikkyness (other wise known as “morning” sickness) put me into a funk. A ‘sleeping till 11am, staying in my PJ’s, not going out very much’ funk.

I tried my best to make new things. I knew I needed to work extra hard to build up stock levels so once the baby came I would have loads of stock prepared so the business could continue to function, relatively easily, even if I was too busy to be very active in its running. But the funk had taken hold and instead I moped around the house.

I told several friends, none of them creative, how I felt. That I was worried I wouldn’t have time once the baby came to continue the business. They all replied with a dismissive wave of the hand “You won’t have time for that”. Was I doomed?

So I turned to my creative bible, Create & Thrive, for an answer. I wrote to Jess  and asked for advice from people who were/ had been in a similar situation. What did they do, how did they feel, did they have advice for me? The post was answered by Katia, someone in my position… also pregnant, also worried, although a lot more positive that I was being. It helped immediately feeling like someone was in my corner. What helped even more was the comments section, which to this day I refer to if I’m feeling a bit sad, scared, tired, or I’m worried about the impending future I have created for myself.

The comment that struck me most was “Be kind to yourself”. Such a simple, obvious idea, and yet something that hadn’t occurred to me. My due date is mid October which means the three hardest ‘mum’ months (the maternity leave months), are also the busiest of the year in my creative business, the lead up to Christmas. One of the reasons I was so freaked out was I was imagining the Christmas rush AND a new baby. But of course this isn’t tenable. Yes my business will continue, yes I will have a baby, it will be a juggling act… but I’m up for it, if I don’t expect too much, prepare as much ahead of time, and I am kind to myself.

You can read the Create & Thrive post here, thank you to everyone who commented, and of course Jess for fielding my question and sending it to Katia for answering!