explainin loooosy

WELCOME to the Forest Flaw.
If you are here to check out my portrait work, please click HERE!
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If you would like to see my Forest Flaw babies, see HERE!
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You can see by my blog that I have many interests, including sewing, drawing and writing about various crafty art related things.
Custom orders are available, just message me.

Friday, 28 October 2011

a-tishoo a tissue

So among the spoiled wastes of tissues I lay, sprawled in a sea of crumpled white paper like virgin roses shrouding me in my coffin. A cough, a splutter, I am gone now...alas... *puts palm to forehead in dramatic style*

I hate being sick.

So, burning the candle at both ends, as it turns out, is not as economical as it seems. I am sick. And as I am sick, I have decided to be completely self indulgent and wallow in my martyrdom for a moment.
For the last 8 weeks or so, I have been working 12 hour days. I have not had weekends off, or even the occasional day at my leisure.
Sure, I only go out to work for the 'man' for 2 1/2 days a week (thank you lovely 'man' for paying me :) ), but every other spare minute, I am at home sewing, cutting patterns, taking care of admin or cleaning the house (haha, that last one was a lie).
As it is almost Halloween, here is my horror story: you can be extra terrified by knowing that it is TRUE! mwuhaha...

I felt it creeping up my back like the hand of doom last week.
Hunched over a patch of candy apple felt with needle in hand, a sharp twinge in my spine was the first signal that the pox was upon me. Complaining to my husband that my back was aching with unusual intensity, I was rebuffed with taunts of 'stop being an old lady'. I went back to my sewing, trying to be as youthful as possible, seeing that this was the only advice given to ward off a sore back.
However, the next day dawned with an evil portent in the sky. The thunder clouds roiled and broiled on the distant horizon as I felt a tickle in my throat. I again complained to my husband, with which I was rebuffed once more with 'did you brush your teeth last night?' I had to admit he was right. But still, something was wrong, more than just furry teeth could attest to.

It wasn't until later that day, my back sore and my throat raspy, that I walked in on a horrific sight. Husband was reaching to the very top of the pantry. I quickly ducked behind the fridge where I wouldn't be seen. He rummaged around for a while, pulling out ear medication and laxatives (don't know whose those are?) until I saw it. The bright orange wrapper gave his game away and I leapt out to confront him in his nefarious deed.
"Haha!" I said "sore throat husband?!"
I had caught him. It was always the way.

Where I might bring home flowers or homeless kittens, Husband brought home colds and flu's. 
The Vicks vapo-drop, butter menthol flavoured wrapper fell to the floor. It was all over, the truth was out. I was sick and the harbinger of illness had bought it upon me.
Cue thunder and lightning.

Hope you are all doing better than me. I will retire now to my bed and sup upon warm tea. *uhuhm-uhuhm*  no no, I'll be fine, really.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A stitch too far

How do you know where the line is?

You know, that invisible line we all subconsciously draw in the sand when we head down a particular path.
I envy those who are single minded, solidly focused on the end goal like a horse with blinkers on. But, as they say, it is about the journey, not the destination.

If you are of a creative bent like me, you will feel an affinity with the point I am ambling towards here.
Simply put: I get distracted. I stop to smell the roses, notice a bumble bee, follow it to the next garden, find a picnic, have a bite to eat, lie down for a nap, wake up and forget where I was heading in the first place. It's a little bit like fridge-itis (fridge-itis: where you are standing in front of an open fridge with no idea how you got there or what you wanted in the first place).

I started the forest flaw with the idea of making all the foresty woodland creatures I could stitch, but it has since evolved to incorporate camels, robots and even recently pelicans! But I love it. I love that people can see what I'm doing and find other potentials for it. I love that I can be sent down rabbit holes that I never would have ventured in to and come out with more ideas than I went in with. It's all part of that journey I guess. You are not always in the drivers seat, and it is the same with business, craft, art or anything you put out into the world where others can see.
Others have the power shape your world as much as you do.
Kapow. Self help moment but it's true. This is why I have learnt that I need to make a map of where I want to go. A loose map, like one of those pirate maps with dotted lines that snake all over the page.  But written on it are directions like:

  • keep left of those who will distract you. 
  • Dodge the ones who want you to succeed on their terms. 
  • Turn down at the offers that might seem good at the time but will ultimately make you feel like you sold your soul. 

All the while leaving huge gaps for the things I can not foresee but adhere to my general life plan - even if it might take me longer to get to end point. So that's what I will be thinking about this week. My end point. Is it when I have quit my job to sew full time? Is it when I have sold a certain amount of creatures? Or have regular orders for stores - or even just being able to play in my own garden and sew occasionally? I don't know yet, but I will start making my own pirate map. Even if only for the opportunity to wear a patch over my eye for a week or so.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to business registers and tax invoices and...eh...

It's funny to look back now and imagine the ideas I had of nurturing this craft, my notions of tenderly encouraging it along to one day grow up to be a fully fledged hobby.
Not to complain, but I just wasn't ready for the things that crop up along the way.What started as a happily lumbering, moss covered stone, has since been picked up and hurtled into the near future and now it is my job to run after behind it, arms flailing - paperwork and calculators falling from pockets.
I have learnt that with every silver lining, comes a cloud that needs to be tended to rather swiftly.
Being wonderfully inundated with orders and watching my items sell is seriously satisfying and heartwarming stuff. But with each sale comes a quarry of questions and conundrums.
First off: design the product.
If it is a custom order, then I need to conceptualize the shape and materials used.
Second: time frame. Does this need to have precedence over other creations? Do I need to stay up a few nights to complete this? Will the cranky tired factor vs the getting things done value equal out?
Thirdly: pricing. I have read so much material on this and taken equal amounts of advice. But ultimately it is my call, and I must do disgusting maths (eh) to work out how much I will be making an hour on a project and if it is going to be comparable to a real job (eh) or if I will be making someone's day and eating green potatoes and home made baked beans for the week.

All well and good. We're coasting along now and have some sort of formula to work these things out. But wait, another amazing opportunity arises - time to get the umbrella out.
A large order for a shop "send me the invoice". Brilliant, I am doing my happy dance and feel all smug and cushy inside.
However, firstly: I need to work out rate of cost. How do I do this? how do I work out what will be worth my time and materials vs marking down for an amazing opportunity?
Secondly: I need an ABN to create a tax invoice properly. How do I create a tax invoice? What about Me? What happened to my TAB- no time for that now*

Ok, working all these things out, I am approached by a couple of retail /gallery owners who sell based on commission.
Woot! Happy joy joy, get out the bucket though - because now the roof is leaking.
Firstly: How much commission?! is it worth having my items in your space for exposure vs what you will be taking from all my hard work?
Secondly: exclusivity. Now the tricky problem of who has what in which shop and where? Also Who Hung Woo Where What Why When? Keep it together, more problems that need addressing yet.
Thirdly: Wholesaling. Do I still offer these items online? I must make sure that I am not undercutting these people by having customers come to me and bypassing the shops all together.

So I have learnt that I must be aware that for every positive there seems to be a tangled knot that needs working out.

I know that people have been doing this for centuries, but I can understand why for many people it is just so much easier to put on a uniform, clock on to work, catch those chickens, crunch those numbers, sell those ice-creams and come home and do it all over again again again...

Eh. Think I'll just get out my calculator thanks.

*wild Simpson's reference.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Claw foot or Monkey hand?

I don't have kids.
I have an ageing cat who brings me mice, and a neurotic German Shepherd who is terrified of everything and a husband who is mostly at work when I am at home. I only work at a 'real job' 2-3 days a week, a sweet little garden to play in on my own, and yet I still have no time and feel mostly harassed by life.

Most of the time not dedicated to the above I am sewing. Or admin-ing. Or some similar 'Forest Flaw' based activity. But I wonder lately if my state of hurried-ness and harangue-ment stems from just two simple things:
A) I do not have a bath.
This may seem like I am oversimplifying things here - I am not dear reader!
If you take note of people who do have said item in household (and get to use it) you will note their general calm demeanor. They are capable of taking greater stress because they can simply soak their worries away! Bye bye back ache, see-ya strain, ta taa tension. Down the drain with you. I am exceedingly jealous of those who get to go to bed without a monkey claw for a hand and a hunched back to make Quasimodo look like he was just bending over to look for his lost contact.

B) Procrastination
I am reigning queen supreme.
Never has the house been so clean, the garden so tidy, the cat so thoroughly brushed as when something is about due and the clock is ticking away.
(n.b. house is not clean atm - I am procrastinating doing that also)
I am not the sort of person who gets up in the morning, eats, cheerily showers, dresses and is ready to take on the world - aka any women's cereal advert.
I am the type of person who:

  •  gets up after accidentally turning alarm off instead of snoozing it. 
  • fumbles into kitchen with eyes shut to make coffee
  • sits with coffee for leisurely 20 minutes until it is cold
  • races to get dressed, fed, hair and makeup done in remaining 10 minutes and runs out the door forgetting lunch and with skirt tucked into pants.
So I must learn to organise myself better. Take the right amount of time to complete tasks. Check the mirror   for clothing catastrophes and begin a practical regime of living. 
I'll do it later.

Meanwhile, I'll dream about a bath, while I sit here with my coffee...let my mind go for a little nap. 
Then I'll cook tea, sew my orders, feed the pets, water the garden and pick up husband in the remaining 10 minutes of my night.

This one's for you S.M - the leisurely lady of the hour long bath.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A Template for life

A template for life. Sounds religious doesn't it? Or like something you would find in a 'women's temperance' pamphlet.

It's just that I've been creating them lately. (Not women's temperance pamphlets)
As I've been sewing each creature again, I have been taking the time to translate the shapes onto a piece of thin card. Time consuming, but at least next time I sew the same shape, all the bits that are relevant will be easily and quickly referenced. So instead of assessing each cut by eye and feel, my previous actions can be re-lived, re-cut and reproduced.

This, however has become a new obsession of late. It's got me thinking why we don't prescribe to this way of thinking for all things?
It would be helpful to every element of my life, from the smallest incidences to the big things. For instance: why is it that I always bang my knee on the bedpost near the door? If I mentally make a template of the path I should take, use that every time I walk through in the room, then voila! No more banged knee!
When placing full carton of milk in the fridge door - push extra hard. Do this every time and no longer will I walk past half an hour later and notice the two inch gap where all the cold and light are spilling out onto the kitchen floor.

But mainly it's the big things that I've been thinking about. For instance, why can't I make a template for dealing with heartache? Cut one giant piece of me into the shape that can handle rejection. take when needed.
Or make a template for dealing with difficult people: cut one shape for poise, one shape for patience and the tricky shape of standing up for myself and finish with dignity.

So, how many times do we need to do the same thing over and over again before we make a mental template? Presumably it happens, or we would never progress: I would still be trying to make a trampoline out of leaves on the front lawn. Or trying to make a cake out of desiccated coconut, or going out with the same egotistical selfish loser again and again until I made a template of how to avoid it (ok, that one I did take a few bashes at).

Taking the time and extra care on these templates has also made me produce more quality work. If it is going to be used over and over, then it had better be the best version of that that I can do. It all comes down to planning in the end. I thought I was terrible at that, but it turns out it's something I can do - and do well. And slowing down to put some thought into what I'm doing, because it is what I will be doing again and again and again -
If I'm lucky ;)