Trials of Self Employment

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. As it turns out, starting and running your own business, even a small one, requires a lot of time, energy, and dedication, which has kept me beyond busy the past six months. Who knew, right?!

All joking aside, since my new work involves making plush toys, 80% of my time has been spent crocheting new dolls and fulfilling custom orders. The other 20% has been doing busy-work, like creating inventory lists, invoice trackers, expense spreadsheets, and trying to get set up on various sites like Etsy to be able to sell to more people. Which, for someone with little to no business/management experience, has been a challenge for sure. Even my sales skills could use a refresher, though after my first craft show, those skills did start to come back to me.

For those who are curious, my new little business is called Nerdvana Crafts, which can be found on Facebook here. Right now, I only have the Facebook page up and running, but with that page, future updates will be added.  Part of the reason for this is that I’ve been kept busy with custom orders for six months so I don’t have much inventory as of yet and thus didn’t have the necessary funds or products to be able to open up an Etsy shop. But now, my custom orders have taken a lull so I can focus on new inventory in order to set up shop.

If you’re interested in something, my repertoire consists of Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, the cast of Frozen, Star Wars, and some Zelda characters, primarily Link in his different tunics and his fairy companions. I can also do custom people as well, as long as I’m given specific parameters: hair color/length, clothing styles and colors, and desired character size, to name a few. Feel free to email me at nerdvana.crafts.ls@gmail.com for a quote! I use cotton acrylic yarn, polyester fiberfill, and plastic safety eyes.

For more examples, please click here.

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Finding My Own Way

Happy Wednesday!

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind sort of day. It started out pretty miserable when someone I was speaking to on the phone addressed me with an accusatory tone (I was calling about an unemployment claim) about something from my weekly certification, which I had no memory of, and she spoke to me as if I should have remembered and known better. That set off a micro anxiety attack that left me on edge the rest of the day.

It did not get better until after my mother came home and asked me to go downstairs to work on crafting stuff with her. I was supposed to receive a call from a potential new employer, a call that was postponed from yesterday, and while my phone never actually rang, I did get a voicemail 45 minutes after the agreed-upon time explaining the tardiness and also indicating that an email would be sent for a future time. So far, no email has been received and my instincts are screaming for me to bolt and run from this place. I have no interest in playing games like this.

Which leads to the main point of this post: finding my own way. After I followed mom downstairs to do crafting stuff, my mind got some much needed clarify and I was able to focus on finishing up my light box for my crocheted crafts. On top of that, I got all the photos taken, and some cropped while others need to be edited yet. I’m tired now, which might seem odd for what was a small amount of work, but at least I accomplished something that made me happy and allowed me to focus for a short period of time.

And to be honest, I think that’s what I need right now.

Not to work for someone else, to fill someone else’s pocket, or follow someone else’s rules. What I need to do right now is find my own way, even if I’m struggling for a little while. Do I expect to be an overnight sensation? No. Building a company or even a small community takes time. But I know my projects are well-crafted (I know a 10-month-old who’s really putting their toy to the test) and people love handmade things.

What’s most important to me right now is my health and my happiness, and this job hunting stress is not helping either, especially when a potential employer appears to be yanking my chain. Nobody needs that kind of nonsense.

Sewing Project #2 Part 3

Whoa, two and a half weeks and no posts? My apologies! It’s been a hectic couple weeks.

Anyway, my second sewing project, the Pokemon trainer cosplay has been finished!

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I’m happy to report that everything went well, with only one minor accident with the serger where I cut into the sleeve. It wasn’t too big a cut and was easily fixed and could be covered with a Pokemon patch. I’ll be sending it out tomorrow to its intended recipient and hopefully it fits. She already loves it, as I’ve sent her photos of the progress.

In addition, I’ve been working on crocheting more amigurumi, mostly little fairies inspired by Navi from Legend of Zelda. So far, I have 6 done in my “inventory” and yesterday I sold two to my brother for two of his friends. They’re super fun to make and don’t take a whole lot of time. Plus, I’m also hoping to work on other characters, like Link, Mario and Luigi, various Final Fantasy characters, and others. I have a list written down of all kinds of characters I could make. I’m hoping to turn it into a business, since our current workload doesn’t seem to be slowing down any and I’m worn out.

Anyway, this sewing project has given me more confidence in being able to sew on my own, especially with stretchy knits, which are probably what I’m going to be working with most. I also have about 10 patterns for cosplay I need to cut out, ranging from Vincent Valentine to Mal and Zoe from Firefly, and Princess Zelda. I’m excited to do all of them, once I have the money to buy the fabric. But having completed my first cosplay (for someone else), my mood has improved and my stress levels have gone down a little bit, and that’s the important part. ❤

Overwhelmed

For today’s post, I tried to come up with some clever title, some cutesy way to turn how I’m feeling into something positive sounding, or at least to make it appear as though there was something positive in all this chaos.

But to be honest, there is simply no other word for how I’m feeling. I am 100%, completely overwhelmed.

The anxiety attacks are starting to occur with more frequency, though that may also be in part to the caffeine I’m consuming, because even when I sleep well, I still wake up feeling exhausted and caffeine is the only way to make it through work. I’m not eating like I should because my stomach feels all knotted up and bloated and fluttery (like butterflies, probably from the coffee), and not eating makes me feel worse and gives me a headache. Logically I know how to make myself feel better physically, but I just can’t find the motivation to do so. I’ve been spending most of my days sleeping during breaks and trying not to curl up in a ball and cry.

With the constant fear of whether or not I’ll have a job from one day to the next, on top of trying to come up with options for a new job should the need arise (I’m looking at making an Etsy shop and selling crocheted items like gamer amigurumi), I have days where I’m not only beyond exhaustion, but dizzy from it too. Even right now, I just can’t do it. I’ve been running at 150% for too long and I’m running on empty (mentally). Since I make my own hours, I’m stopping work an hour earlier than I normally would because I just can’t focus anymore. That’s becoming a daily habit too, lacking focus, not being able to concentrate, and the most consistent one: wishing I was doing anything else.

And I’m sure there will be people out there who’ll tell me, “Find a different job if you hate it so much,” or “Do yoga, meditate, etc. It’ll calm you down,” and while I am a huge supporter of yoga and meditation for relaxation, I’m also at an awkward point in my life where I can’t help but ask, “What do I do when that doesn’t work?” Lately it seems like nothing is calming me down. My mind seems to be running a million miles a minute, telling me I’m not doing this fast enough, or I’m not doing something everyone else has done by this point in life; basically every possibility of not doing enough, not saying enough, not being enough.

My own personal writing has taken a hit because I can’t focus enough to form coherent thoughts for the story I’m working on. I can’t seem to come up with any good ideas for new stories, even though once upon a time I had at least a dozen or more, probably now stashed away in a drawer somewhere. All of my writing in recent weeks has been some form of venting, complaining about what’s wrong here, and how much I hate my job, and the ensuing panic of possibly having to find another one in the near future. It’s exhausting, and it’s becoming my pattern.

I’m just so tired…

Sewing Project #2: Part 2

Since my last post regarding this sewing project, I have obtained the rest of the fabric needed for the outfit, plus an additional yard and a half of a different, stretchy, pleather-y textured fabric for myself for a cosplay of my own, and I now have everything (I think!) to begin the actual sewing process.

I have a meeting on Saturday with a friend of my mother’s who is a seamstress and knows how to work with stretchy fabrics and will help teach me how to work with them. The only real qualm I have about this meeting is that I’ll be going by myself to her house to work. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, as I’ve been to her house twice, I know who she is, and I’ve made friends with her cat.

But for this particular meeting, I think what has my anxiety levels higher than normal is that it was made spur of the moment (we actually set it up yesterday), and because I’ve been extremely stressed out from work (running at 150% for over two months straight with no break except two hours sick leave and four days planned vacation) and not really having any peace and quiet to myself since early last week. I haven’t really had, or given myself time to mellow out and relax and not do anything. I had company Sunday and Monday, and while my parents were both off yesterday, during the time they were gone, I was working. And today, my dad decided to take a sick day and as I’ve mentioned before, he likes to watch TV and I can’t work with the TV on. So I’m hiding in the basement where I’m not as comfortable as I usually am and not having any natural light like normal either.

In any case, come Saturday, I may be hauling my own sewing machine and all of my materials to this woman’s house to start working on the Pokemon trainer cosplay, depending on whether or not she has a class to teach.

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In addition, I finished my first, all-by-myself amigurumi this week! I made them as housewarming gifts for Jerad because I didn’t know what to buy him. So here they are, Toon Link and Navi!

Amigurumi Link and Navi

I’m so proud of both of these, I’m considering making more! Navi can be in different colors and Link can have different colored tunics! I’m excited to get started on them!

Sewing Project #2

After my last sewing project, I was very nervous about doing another one, but as this one is for my best friend, I wanted to try harder to get it done for her for Halloween. This time, however, I chose to go into the store to pick out some of the fabric so I wasn’t as overwhelmed as my first adventure.

This will be my first cosplay attempt. I’m making a Pokemon trainer outfit that includes a romper, half jacket, and belt, and today I bought the fabric for the jacket, jacket/romper trim, and the craft foam for the belt. The pattern is already cut out so I just have to pin the fabric and get it cut out.

The difficulty in this project lies in the type of fabric we’re using. The sweater fleece should be ok, as it’s not too stretchy, but the romper fabric and the trim is an activewear type of fabric, which means it stretches a lot. The pattern calls for stretch knit, specifically activewear, but in getting what I got, it was simply a happy accident that it was the right type and color I needed. Now, I didn’t get all of the fabric I needed. The color that my best friend wanted is considered a fall color so I went in with the intention just to see what, if any, fabric was available in the desired color. Since it was, and there was so little of it, I decided to get it and it was also on sale. I still have to get the black stretch knit for the romper and I’ll do that next week.

But my mother and I have never worked with anything stretchy before so we’re hoping to get some help from a fellow seamstress/sewing teacher, either to help teach us how to sew this fabric without it stretching too much or to commission her to sew it for us. Given the time crunch, it might be more ideal to have her sew it for us, but I personally would like to learn how to sew with stretch knit fabric because I intend to work on several cosplays in the future that may require stretchy fabric. I just need to find time.

Until then, you’ll find me cutting out patterns and watching anime. ❤

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On the plus side, I finished my massive crochet blanket, at least for the moment. I’m still deciding on doing crocodile stitches on the straight edges, but I want to see how they look on the blanket before committing to that particular design. Here’s what the finished product looks like:

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And it’s warm, cozy, and big enough to wrap myself up like a burrito, exactly how I wanted. ^_^

Facing the Future Part 2

On a different, but related subject, today while dredging through my workload, my mind wandered to a variety of other tasks I would rather be doing instead of my daily grind. Things like cutting out patterns, playing video games, trying to catch up on recorded anime while crocheting, sleeping (which I actually did before noon; I took a half hour nap because I was so drained), etc.

As it was, I managed to push through my work so that I could spend the rest of my evening watching Netflix and cutting out a pattern. But these wandering snippets got me thinking on how much I dislike my work. Lately, it really does feel like work. Whereas other things like crocheting and gaming make me feel energized and alive. Even the prospect of cutting out a sewing pattern was more appealing than working.

Which got me thinking on how much better (or worse) life would be if I could actually spend my time making things for other people. I love crocheting blankets especially, but I can also make hats and I recently began making amigurumi, but as long as I have a pattern, I could make pretty much anything, because crocheting soothes my anxiety. And I might still be learning how to sew, but I think once I became skilled enough, I could probably do some cosplay stuff for other people beside myself. I think I would enjoy creating beautiful cosplay items.

This also comes on the back of someone close to me wanting to make and sell jewelry on Etsy, and this makes me want to do something similar because I have this love of creating things. I already work on my own schedule, but it would be nice to not have to be at a laptop all day since I also have problems with my eyes. Still, there’s no guarantee of success there either, especially not right now. Crocheting blankets is great and all, but blankets take time and on top of my other work, they take that much longer.

So while it was a nice thought to get me through my day, I’m not sure it’s quite right for me at this particular moment. Still, I’ll continue to make things as a hobby to soothe my anxious mind. Until next time…<3