Sunday, January 16, 2011

What I've been up to lately

I feel really guilty for not posting here so often. For a while, I was doing well, and then Christmas happened. Which meant that, as I had decided part way through October that I was doing a handmade Christmas, most of my creative efforts were spent on Christmas and holiday related things.
This covered most of November and December. 
Pelicans on a sand bar in the tidal river near where I holidayed this year.

Sitting on a park bench near at the lookout on holidays.

Overlooking the surf beach on holidays

The amazingly green sweeping fields by the road near Ballina.

Then Christmas came and went (and all my gifts, thankfully, were very well received), and, on December 27, I went on holidays for a bit over 2 weeks. Up the New South Wales coast further than I have ever been before. The town I, and eight of my friends, stayed at was gorgeous, and the surrounding country side was oh, so, very picturesque. The beach, although a surf beach and far rougher than I like, was awesome because of just how warm the water is. It was relaxing, and rejuvenating, and just a great holiday.
Maybe a week before Christmas, I had finally come up with an answer to a question that has been plaguing me for months. You see, I graduated from university in June 2010. I have a Bachelor of Arts (honours), and after I do my last exam in January, I will also have a Bachelor of Science (Psychology). So, education is all done. But, throughout my life, education has been the goal. While I was in college (high school for any North American readers), the goal was to get marks to get into university. Which I did. I took a gap year, working and travelling (I lived in England for the first time as part of my gap year). Then I went to university, and decided I wanted to do an exchange year as part of my degree. So, I worked full time and studied full time, and went on exchange (this was the second time I lived in England). I then took 6 months off to travel Europe, and visit friends in North America. During which time, I decided that I wanted to do honours. Luckily, the marks I needed to do my exchange year meant that I also had marks high enough to be admitted into the Honours program for my major, which is Gender, Sexuality and Culture Studies. So, I finished (almost) my psych degree, and started honours. I then finished honours, graduating with a mark I am pleased with that means that if, in the future I want to do further study, I can probably get into a decent program. That was last June.  Over the last few months, I have been doing the last subject I need to finish my science degree. Which I now have one exam to do. 
Over the last few months, because I was still technically studying, I didn't get myself a 'real' job. But, I have been plagued with the question 'What am I going to do with my life?' This question seems to be a favourite of almost everyone I meet, and it irks me. I hate the question, because until maybe a week before Christmas, I didn't have an answer. Even a vague kinda, 'Oh, maybe I'll do X, Y, Z with my life." Nothing.
So, when I came up with an answer to the question, you can probably understand that it was quite an awesome feeling. I have decided that rather than using my degree in any way, I'm going to try and make money from my creative side.
So, plans. I am going to start selling stuff on etsy, while working part time. To begin with, I'm going to concentrate on upcycled clothing - mainly singlets, tank tops and shirts, but maybe skirts and other things as well. 
Having made my decision, I started working on it

As part of my holiday, I have begun to make things that I would sell on etsy. I know, I know, I'm was on holidays, why should I be 'working,' but honestly, it wasn't work. I had forgotten just how relaxing I find sewing, especially sewing my hand. Over the two weeks, I managed to complete eight garments that I can sell. So, I figure I'm on my way to being able to actually be an etsy seller :)
Describing sewing techniques to Squirrel

More technique description. I *may* have a stitch unpicker in my mouth.

Creatively, I also helped on of the other girls here, Squirrel from my sewing group, to start and complete her first ever dress. She seems to have a real fear of ever completing a project, and it took days to talk her into actually hemming the dress. Which, by the way, looks really cute. A few things that possibly could be a touch neater (but, as this was the first dress she has ever really sewn amazingly neat) that come with practice. Otherwise, though, this dress is totally wearable. After helping her, and Kiwi (who, sadly has moved away to Perth) complete dresses, I realise just what an asset I have been giving with my knowledge and sewing skills. Things that seem so basic to me, because I have been doing them forever, are clearly not so easy to beginner sewists. It makes me incredibly grateful that I not only learned to sew when I was much younger (I was ten, maybe, and making dolls clothes. Which, are actually really fiddly and difficult because they are so small. Clothing for real sized people is actually much easier), but also that I had the ability to further my skills as part of my college years. I still have things that I want to learn - pattern drafting, anyone? - but, for the most part, I could get away with never needing to buy clothing again. (I won’t because I don’t have the patience for jeans, bras and underwear, but you get the point.)
Anyway, back to my decision, etsy and a part time job. The part time job (probably with the government, because they are the major employer in the city I live in), will give me some breathing space, and allow me to see how successful I can be at selling things. It will basically let me know if I can make enough to live and so on, or if it is just pocket money. Because, right now, I'm not sure.
Having made the decision, I feel quite liberated. I have decided that I want to keep this blog and etsy distinct - I started this blog so that I could share my experiences, and techniques, not as a selling tool. And, I want to keep it that way. In the future, I may add a buttony, linky thing to my etsy store, but right now, they will be unique entities.
Which means, my creative efforts, and therefore my posting, may diminish. I have tentatively set myself a goal of one post per week here, but I don't know how realistic that is. 
So, my readers (and, just quietly, I have followers! People I've never met!), please bear with me. This year may be... interesting... for me. 

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