Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Big, Big News!


Well, we did it!  Our house in WV is under contract, and the process is moving along.  We're supposed to close on November 5.  We're currently having some repairs done and getting inspections out of the way.

Meanwhile, we staying in VT while we look for our next home, and we have found it!  The photo above is the farm on which we will be making an offer today!  It's on 60 or so acres, and most of that land has been protected.  (We will be renewing that protected status!) The open area is the portion we will be living on and farming.  The rest is all forest,and we're going to KEEP it that way! (The farm is in MA.  We are staying with my in-laws currently.)

There are two houses on the property.  (The 2nd one is actually a garage with a nice apartment above it.  That will be my partner's studio and a guest house.)  My own studio and office will be on the 2nd floor of the main house. It will also act as a guest room.  The space is going to need more lighting, but the size is good, and there is a lot of storage space.  The main house is like a Tardis-It's bigger on the inside.

The houses are fixers, but it's mostly cosmetic and a matter of updating. We're making an offer today, and that offer will be contingent on the electrical and plumbing and gas infrastructure being safe and up to code.  If not, we have a 2nd choice lined up.  We both love this property, though!

So, that's what I've been up to lately! I HAVE picked up some new merchandise in my travels.  I have acquired quite a few display cases, so I will be selling those through my Etsy shop once I am back up and running.  I do miss my studio time and the creative process in general!

Hope you are all having a wonderful fall!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

I write.



I did go ahead and create that writing blog.  If you'd like to give it a look for a follow, you can find it here.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Quick Update.


Since my last post all those months ago, I've been focusing on the house. Packing, decluttering, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...worrying, fixing...etc. We still have not sold it, but our stuff is still mostly packed up, with my jewelry equipment, sewing bag, camera, and writing being all that's available to me.  That sounds like a lot, but my time is still limited.

In the meantime, I've been performing stand up, making jewelry for friends (and jazzing up my cats' collars,) and working on my writing.  I don't tend to have much time to sew, but I would like to.  

Apparently, I also like blogging, because I'm thinking of creating yet another blog, which would be dedicated solely to my writing.  I had a page as an addition to this blog, but it didn't seem to attract many views.  I'm serious about my writing, and I do  have projects I'd like to publish. Plus, I'm a voracious reader, and I like to discuss books, film, and writing. It may be worth it.  I'll give it more thought.

I'm not working on any one particular writing project right now. Rather, I'm going through an old folder I have, marked "typing," and I'm going to be putting those pieces into computer files, so that I can mess with them and see if anything comes out the other side.  My two chapbooks still haven't been published, but I'm really feeling called to get that done, so I'll be working on that, too, I think. I'm not taking on much freelance work right now, because I'm sick, more often than not, and I have trouble meeting deadlines when I'm like this. (I just had to tell a client that I want her job, but that I feel the need to wait until after we've moved, because I can't focus.)

I've thought about unpacking some things, but after all I went through to get everything packed, I don't actually like that idea.  LOL!

I will keep you posted on everything, and if I decide to create the writing blog, I will link it.

Happy Summer!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Juggling



I no longer have a studio.  We are moving.  Right now, the room that had been my studio is empty, stripped to the sub floor.  My partner is redoing the floor in that room to match the rest of the upstairs.  We are hoping to list our house later this month.  We are lucky, in that all that needs done is a bunch of patch-and-paint and maybe changing out a few fixtures.

Only my sewing and jewelry are accessible to me right now.  I'm very nearly finished with my latest bag, but at the moment, I don't have much, if any, time to work on it.  As he does the heavier work, I'm sorting and decluttering and packing.

We won't know when we are moving until the house sells, and we have no way of knowing when that will happen.  We will pretty much be living in a stripped down model home for the next couple of months.  We'll have what we need, but not much more than that.

Initially, after the floor in my studio was done, we were going to set my easel back up as part of the staging, but as of last night, we made the decision that it will become our bedroom, because we'll need to move out of our current bedroom in order to fix it up.

Later, I will be taking the photos of our property--at least I think I will be.  I mentioned to my realtor that I'm a photographer and need the practice.  I will check back in with her.  Real estate photography is one of my areas of interest, so that would be a great opportunity.

My laptops are always available to me, too, so I can work on writing projects--when and if I have any time.

This journey is very exciting for me.  We'll be starting a new life.  I'll be leaving behind everything I know, but I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead.  I'll have a new studio to set up and settle into.  I won't have a job, at least initially, so I'll be able to focus back on my making.  I'm always thinking about my business and trying to decide if I need a new direction or brainstorming business strategies.  Maybe New England will be a better market for me.  Maybe we'll find a property with a shop on it, so I can display and sell my work continuously.  We've already looked at one such property.

I know most of my updates on this blog have been me talking about why I'm not making and very little about my actual art and vintage.  My life has been very busy the past couple of years, and carving out studio time has been very hard.  I thank you for hanging in there.

I do have an Instagram, where I've been uploading a few photos of my work and my shows and stuff.  I'm on there as JLynnPro, and my personal Instagram is from.jens.pen.  I hope you'll give me a follow!

I hope that my next update will be pictures of my finished bag or of my new studio!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Well.



This has been quite the year.  I did keep my Tuesday studio schedule for a while, kind of, but then life exploded again, and other creative opportunities came up.  I've done two shows this year, and my next one will be next Saturday, 9/15, in Martinsburg, WV.  Sold pretty well at the first show and performed stand up!  Second show was a bust, because it was mostly MLM types.  Some makers did make some sales, but I did not.  The show next week is the same venue.  A friend is one of the people who runs it.  I will give it one more chance, and if I still don't sell anything, I won't return.  The people are nice, but no sales is always a bummer.

I have not gotten back to my painting or finished up my latest bag.  Would like to try to do that this week, so I can include it next week, but we'll have to see. I'm back to working pretty much full time, but hopefully that's temporary.  (I can't physically handle it, really.  I do love it, though!)

I've been focusing pretty heavily on my comedy this year.  I've performed a handful of times.  I was invited to go up to NYC to perform, along with some other local comics, but unfortunately, that trip fell through.  Would have been a lot of fun!  I'm currently running a comedy writers' group for people in my area, and I'm producing my very first comedy show! The show is 9/30 in Charles Town, WV, and will also act as a fundraiser for the rescue I help out with.  A comic friend has been helping me out, but I've been doing the leg work and just going to him with questions.  It's been a good collaboration.  I'm just nervous, because the tickets aren't moving.

I'm holding off on moving my business to WV and renaming it for a couple or reasons, the main one being that we're relocating to MA next year sometime! Why go through that (and pay) twice?  Also, I don't know if our new home will have the same name as our current one.  I'm holding off on making the signs for the property, so that's a project off my plate.

So work has exploded.  I only have two days off per week, and I spend those playing catch-up on stuff around the house, like decluttering before we list.  I need to pare back my goals and maybe just try to commit to two hours here and there.  I'm hopeful that when a coworker returns from overseas, he will pick up one or two additional days, so that I can pare back again or that we can work together, which will make the days go faster.  We'll see.  That's my main obstacle right now--work.  By the time I get home, I'm too tired to do anything useful and sometimes I'm in too much pain. If I can carve out a couple of hours here and there, I'll accept that.

It's been a frustrating couple of years where my business is concerned.  That is for sure!  When I move, I won't have the job, so hopefully I can take some time to just make and list.

If you're still reading my blog, then thank you!  If you're new, then welcome!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Starting Up Again in 2018


It's tilted, because otherwise my phone would not have captured the whole thing!

It's time to get serious.  It's a new year, and I'm now well settled into my new home and my new studio (pictured here.)  Things have more or less settled down in my life, and my schedule has freed up to the point where I can resume my art practice and start to try and revitalize my business.

The easel pictured, a Sorg, was my holiday gift from my partner.  If he has this much faith in me, then I need to start to have faith in myself again.  I came across the following article tonight, and it really got me thinking about how I need to re-establish firm studio sessions and stick to them:
Why Having No Boundaries Is Killing Your Art Career

My studio days will be Tuesdays.  I will designate the hours of approximately 10:00am to 4:00pm (not including a lunch break) for work in and related to my art.  Initially, I will be finishing up some UFOs:  a necklace I owe someone from a holiday gift exchange, my latest bag, signs for our property, cleanup and organization, and finishing up a specific painting I have in progress.  I will then move on to listing some vintage items that I have sitting around not making me any money, and then I will go from there.

The past couple of years have been busy, tumultuous, painful, intense, and exciting in more ways than one.  Now, we're settling into our respective grooves, and my work was just cut back by one day a week, so it feels like time.  Then, I got the Sorg!  No more messing around!

I won't say that my paintings are good, but they are fulfilling for me to make. If people see them and decide they have to have them, that's awesome.  I do not have an art degree, but I have a few years of training.  I am out of practice, though, so initially, my painting will be about practice and re-teaching myself skills that I have not been using.  I hope to maybe take a class here and there.   I will put the better ones up for sale, but the focus of my business will still be my other handmade/upcycled items and my vintage until I'm feeling more confident.

Some of you will recall that I had a rotating schedule for myself a while back.  I will probably eventually bring that back, but for now, I'm going to be focusing on getting used to being in the studio at least once a week and on sitting myself down and doing the work.

On a personal note, some of the excitement of the past couple of years has involved my being ill.  I have fibromyalgia.  I was diagnosed in 2016, and my symptoms are getting progressively worse.  This is why I am working less for other people.  There are times when I need to sleep or just lie down.  This will very likely happen during my studio time sometimes, but there is nothing I can do about that, so I just have to do the best I can.  This illness is a big part of the reason I'm just now getting back to this.  I think throwing myself back into my art and my other modes of making will be healing for me, and hopefully, I can make some money along the way to make up for the income I'm losing.

Thanks for stopping by!  I know it has been a while!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Time Management




I've made reference over the years to the fact that I can't always get into the studio for one reason or another.  First, there was the full time job.  Then, there was taking care of my mom.  Then, there was remodeling the house I now live in and then moving into it (which I did in order to take care of my mom.)  Finally, now I'm juggling my businesses, my household, and a supplemental job/client search.  Busy, busy, busy!

Back in 2014, when things really started to converge, I finally figured out what I needed to do:  I created a weekly schedule for myself which covers all aspects of my busy life.  I'm sure some people start right out of the gate with a plan in place, but I did not, because for over a decade, my life was very predicable, and everything fit into its little slot quite smoothly.

I started the process in 2016, when things started to wind down for me again.  First, I looked at everything I have going on in my life.  There's the day-to-day stuff.  Financial stuff.  My virtual assisting and freelance writing business (one business that offers an assortment of services, not unlike JenniferLynn Productions.)  My art and handmades for JLynnPro and my vintage for JLynnPro.  Pets.  Medical appointments.  My job search...and so on.

Once I had an idea of everything that I have going on, I started to look at ways to cluster activities together, and I came up with three sets of tasks, each of which covers a different aspect of my life.  For now, Wednesdays are out for me altogether, because I have a standing client for whom I exclusively work on Wednesdays.  This gave me just six days a week with which to work.

I decided that, out of those six days, I needed one day that is completely unscheduled and open.  This is a day I use for rest and recovery or for projects that take up too much time or don't fit into the schedule otherwise--things like larger household tasks, home improvement, yard work, etc.  Social time and housework fit in where they can, because both are extremely important and really can't be shoved into a "time slot." Yes, we schedule our social time; however, my friends and family are not always available on the weekends, for instance.  Housework gets done every day, because duh!

With my standing client and "down" day squared away, I had five days each week with which to work. I set up my core schedule as follows:  Two days a week are for financial stuff:  taxes, paying bills, moving money around, making deposits, banking, etc.  Two days of the week are studio days, which means that for two days each week--sometimes full days, sometimes not--I am in the studio.  Even if I'm not literally in my studio, I am working on some aspect of JLynnPro.  Within that time, I have a rough breakdown of how I use the time, but I do not have a schedule for the studio yet. 

Studio time could mean making.  It could mean making and listing.  It could mean pricing and researching. It could mean working on my website.  It could mean networking or taking care of business-related tasks.  It doesn't matter:  For those two days, I focus only on JLynnPro.  Additionally, on other days, when I get everything done or don't have the normal things I do on a given day happening, I spend that time on JLynnPro, as well.

On the surface, it probably seems like I'm not devoting enough time to my business; however, I have found that, in having dedicated blocks of time, I can get quite a bit done. The other fact of the matter is that my business does not exist only in the designated time slots.  Sometimes, things come up at other times during the week around it, or I find I have free time.  Those times are also devoted to my business.  It's just that for these two days, I am assured of having blocks of time to just completely focus.  It's like an insurance policy.  In an otherwise extremely busy week, I know that I have anywhere from two to ten hours do do nothing but JLynnPro.

I am seeing results, and not just with JLynnPro.  I'm actually getting things done in an organized manner.  When we are organized, we accomplish so much more in what little time we all have each week.  House projects are getting finished.  Our garden is thriving.  Our yard doesn't look like a neglected wilderness.  We can find things.  We can have people over. I'm listing items more frequently (though still not as frequently as I would like,) and most importantly, my little business is starting to get noticed and bring in a tiny bit more money than it used to!  The most important result I'm seeing is that I am far less stressed, happier, and better rested than I used to be, which means that I am ultimately much more productive.

Of course, there are "Those Weeks," too--the ones where everything just goes to hell and I can't seem to get anything done. That's unavoidable, and I just make the best of it when that happens.  The important thing is that I now have a time and a place for everything that comes up in my life, and that makes being a creative person so much easier!

I hope this post was helpful! I've been meaning to write it for quite a long time!