Quality Control

Oh poo.  I’m so disappointed.  A few days ago I received my first batch of A4 prints from the printer.  This was supposed to be a great moment, but the quality just isn’t up to standard.  I got everything I asked for in the way of placement and colour-matching, but the quality of the stock is shockingly bad.  They look like they are just low cost, flimsy print-outs from a cheap home printer.  What a waste of money.  There is no way I would list those in my shop (not even as a sale or seconds item) so they are just going to have to be used as (bloody expensive) scrap paper or something.  They were packaged really badly too, so no second chances for that outfit.  Luckily my usual printer has just started doing affordable, small quantity print-runs and I absolutely love the quality of their other products.  So I WILL get some prints in my shop soon.

Wordy Post, Thinking Aloud

Nearly 6 months since my last post.  So much has happened, but as most of it is boring to anyone who is not me, I’ll spare you the bulk of it.

A couple of months ago life forced on me yet another house move.  The huge house I rented with one of my sisters that split perfectly into two separate apartments, was sold from under us and we were forced to find another place double-quick.  I can’t complain about our treatment from the landlords as they were very kind and very respectful, but it was hard to leave such a magnificent place and the actual moving process was a bloody nightmare (I usually LOVE moving).

But here we are, newly installed in a tiny, tiny, TINY house, learning to adjust to a new way of life.  It splits well enough for the cats (who hate each other and have to be kept separated at all times) and for us sisters (who love each other dearly but want to live completely separate lives) but my God the reduction in space is hard to get used to.

Despite the adjustments to our new circumstances, we knew that the Universe must have our best interests in mind with this move – we just had to look for the positives:  We have a roof over our heads;  By necessity we’ve got a lot less stuff;  Lots of money saved each month on rent;  Lots of money saved each month on bills;  So much warmer than the old place;  Close proximity to the town centre within a slightly-run-down-but-friendlyish neighbourhood AND best of all the place is overrun with cats and cat-lovers.

The tininess of the house has made me even more of an outdoorsy person, which has been great for my health, my figure and my mind (it was a case of either get outside or die of claustrophobia!) and it has also made both of us reconsider our futures and what we want to do with the rest of our lives.  This is probably the last place we’ll be living in together and probably only for the next 2 years (if we can stand it that long) so the race is on to save, save, save and plan, plan, plan.

I shut the shop the moment I knew we’d be moving and I’ve still not had the heart to open it again.  I think I may open it again soon but with some serious stock changes and probably not for too much longer – it doesn’t really fit into my plan anymore.  I’ve given all the brooches, the decorations, the seasonal stuff, the string tags and the handmade cards to a local charity raffle and from now on I’ll only be selling the stuff I can get made through the printers.  I’ve finally found somewhere affordable to get great quality prints of my designs as I’m constantly asked if I do them – so we’ll see if they sell.  But really my mind is drifting more and more to winding the whole thing up to concentrate on what I really want to do.  We’ll see.

I’ve got the strongest feeling that some time in the future I’m going to look back at this house move and see it as the catalyst for so many wonderful happenings.

2016

new cards 2016

I say this every year:  “I’m really going to work on my shop and blog.”  Then at some point later in the year I decide not to concentrate on either.  So this year I’ve decide to say this:  “I have no idea what I’m going to do this year, but here’s what I’ve got so far…”.  Some more characters have joined the woodland greetings cards, I finally listed that crow card that I finished months and months ago and my tortie cat collage has been redone as a full size greeting card this time around.  There are new folded gift tags too, but so far there just isn’t enough daylight to photograph them yet, now that I’ve managed to ruin my light tent (don’t ask).

So the year is off to a good start and whatever else happens, I’m happy with that.  Happy 2016  :)

Tipping Point

mena sketch

Well here we are again at the tipping point between seasons.  My squirreling instincts are kicking in, so Autumn must be on its way.  Where has the time gone?

I’ve not been at all active online recently for the simple reason that I’m having a life!  My thoughts are wrapped up with yoga, running, healthy eating, outdoor living and art…and that hasn’t left a lot of time for anything else.  Throw into the mix the fact that I have a new four-legged companion and suddenly there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

My new girl is a stripey, sassy miss and is already proving to be something of an artist’s muse (mews).  She’s much easier to sketch than my beautiful tortoiseshell ever was – there’s something to be said for stripes, as they provide useful reference points when resuming an abandoned sketch once she’s moved back into a similar position.  But whether or not I’m drawing the cat, sketching and painting have become the daily habits they always should have been and consequently there’s  been lots of improvement.

Improvements are also being made to the strength in my damaged arm.  I’ve been following specifically strength-building yoga routines for a few weeks now and the difference in my arm (and my whole physique) is incredible.  My muscles are slowly revealing themselves again and my flexibility improves daily.  That handstand is becoming a real possibility, which will be a nice, rude two-fingered salute to my physiotherapist who said I wouldn’t ever be able to.

Ok so that’s all the good stuff out of the way, the not so good thing is that I have some serious obstacles in the way of working on my shop – namely Technology and Time.  At the moment all i can do is keep it ticking over.  Oh well, there are worse situations in life!

 

 

New to the shop and new to me

badger peel off tag 1

The latest addition to the tribal style animal characters is one of my favourites yet.  This little badger is only available as a set of gift tags at the moment, but I’ve got some card designs featuring him ready to go to the printers along with a couple of other newbies.  I spent much of yesterday taking photos of new stock (a job I detest!) and bit by bit over the next week I’m adding them to the shop.

I’m taking better care of the shop and better care of myself too.  Something has definitely “clicked” just recently.  A lot of things are suddenly making sense to me and I’ve been working really hard at creating a life that makes me happy.  Improving my diet has made the single biggest difference to me.  I’d always had a reasonable diet, thanks to being vegetarian for most of my life, but I decided to really educate myself about food after I had my accident (because I found out the hard way that the fitter/healthier you are when you have an accident the quicker you recover).

I’ve given my diet an overhaul, making lots of subtle changes that have added up to a whole heap of difference.  And the biggest part of that difference is energy.  I’m positively bursting with the stuff!  Put together with my ever-growing love for a real variety of exercise and the result is that my physique is better, my complexion, my memory, my sleep and my mood.  And it doesn’t feel like just another fad that I’ll get bored with soon enough.

Diet, exercise, meditation, education and improved sleep are making me feel I can do anything.  Long may it last  :)

Topsy-Turvy

peel-off tags progress

I’ve been keeping myself out of mischief by updating all my gift tags to the new peel-off back format.  My arm really isn’t fully up to the job of cutting them out, but I think it does it good to be pushed a little.  I’ve been really pushing it with my physiotherapy exercises and it’s definitely paid off – for the first time in 3 months I’ve just managed to touch the tips of my fingers to my shoulder.  Another few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be able to bend it fully.  Extending my arm is a completely different matter – still way more difficult, but I have every faith in being one of the lucky ones who regains full use of their arm.  Yoga really helps, even if all my poses are a bit on the wonky side:  3-legged downward dog?

Actually life in general has been a bit wonky lately.  Some things feel like they are falling apart (my day-job) and some things are going from strength to strength (my health).  I like life this way.  An unpredictable, topsy-turvy roller-coaster ride.

Miss Mardy-Knickers

new cards

new cards just added to my etsy shop

Have you ever wanted to greet your boss with a flying kick to the windpipe?  That’s exactly what I’ve been fantasising about for most of the day (I’ve never claimed to be a sweet little angel, now have I?!).  I have spent the afternoon mostly being blisteringly angry, but also being thankful that my boss had to meet with clients all afternoon, giving me the chance to cool off and think things through.  You don’t need to hear the whole tale but suffice to say that the Universe has just given me another nudge out of the door as far as that job is concerned.  It’s becoming less and less viable to work there.  So annoying because things had really turned around there in the last couple of months.

So I have been thinking what type of person I want to be in this situation.  I’ve already done (to my discredit) the whole “shove your job up your backside, you big tw*t” speech to a previous boss, way back when – and while it was hugely enjoyable, warranted and oh-so-satisfying at the time, I really think I want to be the better person this time around.  My boss really is being a big tw*t and undoubtedly I really do want him to insert his job in his nether regions, BUT there has to be a more evolved adult way of dealing with him.  I just haven’t figured out what it is yet!

In the meantime, while I grapple with my day-job-dilemmas, above are the latest cards I’ve had made for my etsy shop.  They turned out way, way better than I’d hoped and make me even more determined to keep plodding away with this work until I find some real direction.