Happy New Year, 2016!


Hi!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

2015 was a busy year full of changes and illnesses. Many plans were put on hold or suddenly had to change. Unfortunately, one of the things put on hold was the blog. But I’m still here and so is Bridgwater Crafts. I just need to learn how to better balance my health and working a few hours a day on the business.

One of the things I hope to do more this year is be more present here and more open. I’m not sure yet how that will work as I can’t put everything out in the open. Somethings need to be left for C’√©st Ma Vie, 2016! I didn’t want you to think I just disappeared though I suppose I did for the end of 2015.

Designs Updates

It’s been a while since I posted a design update. There’s a few reasons for that; my own health issues, a death in the family, and family health emergencies. As a result, I’m lagging behind where I thought I’d be now.

The February chapter of the book is not yet published. I hope to finish that this weekend and upload it to the sales sites. Then I can show you the designs.

The March chapter is with the proofreaders. One of the designs is knit but the pattern not complete nor photography done. I decided I did not like the way the crochet design; a math error early on meant it did not turn out as envisioned. When even blocking didn’t correct that I ripped it out. It has been restarted with the correct math and a bigger hook. It is now looking as I planned.

While in denial of the crochet design fail, I started the April knit design. It was going great until I put it down to finish the corrected Cathlyn design.

Then my little great-nephew needed a spring toque so I started crocheting him one. That is almost done. A variation of it may go in the design pile for later. Basically I can’t focus, so I fallen onto a variant of are sign I’ve been crocheting for years as little brainpower is required. I’ve made a few¬†modifications in the last few days that sparked a design idea. I’m almost done the hat but my shoulder is bothering me so I stopped for the night.

I have no design pictures for you but here’s one from my bedroom window a few days ago. I was not impressed at the newly fallen snow!

April Snow
April Snow

Welcome Back, Spring!

Welcome back, Spring!

It’s hard to believe it’s the first day of spring already but today is the vernal equinox. We’re still in minus temperatures as often as positive although hitting positives is a good sign! Mira is shedding like crazy! So it must be Spring!

Today, I have some design peeks and some stash additions. I finished crocheting and knitting both March designs. I still need to finish the patterns but the basics are already there. I need to lay them out and measure them pre-blocking. I hope to block them both tomorrow.

A Peek at Arielle & Cathlyn
A Peek at Arielle & Cathlyn

I took the week off design samples and started replenishing my stock of available dishcloths. I offerred them to my old coworkers. I heard back quickly from two ladies wanting six each. I plan to bring extras with me when I go in on Monday in case some of the other ladies in the office see them and decide to buy some too. I have a few Anya and lots of Alys. Alys is quicker for me; I’ve made her so many times over the years.

Crocheting Alys While Gypsy Sleeps
Crocheting Alys While Gypsy Sleeps

I’m contemplating vending at the local Farmers’ Market this year. I’m fairly sure I can make the table cost and get a good return on investment. It’s going to depend if I start working again or am off still. If I’m working, I would need to take the day of the Market off. This isn’t a problem as I have lots of holidays but I would have a new boss who may not like my wanting a bunch of Fridays off over the next few months.

If I’m off there’s no reason not to at least try a few. It’s a four hour event with good attendance. I would be selling printed copies of my designs, postcards with coupon codes for my ebooks and dishcloths and other small designed items to start and probably add the Damia set as it gets closer to autumn. I know there is a much larger crochet and knitting population here than shows up in Ravelry so I hope to bring new customers to my designs.

My only fear is that creating stock would take away from designing and writing. For that reason, I may only do a few of the Markets as a trial. If it works well I may plan to do them all next year and work on stock as time allows year round.

When I checked the mail today I had two packages of yarn waiting patiently for me to arrive. One is from Audrey of Smitten Yarns, the February club yarn is Cavan Worsted by Three Irish Girls dyed in the Bahamas Mama colourway, a citrusy blend of grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges. I’ve never worked with this base but I’m looking forward to designing with this yarn! The other package was from Katie of Yarn Love Yarn, my February shipment of her Little Lovelies club. I ordered my usual Elinor Dashwood base, I LOVE this base! The colourway is Moonlight Indigo, a mix of blues, greens, indigo and purple. The mini is Moonlight Purple on the Juliet base.

New Yarn!
New Yarn!

I have plans for all my Juliet minis but that’s for C’est Ma Vie! 2016! I won’t have time for that design to make it into the 2015 book. But, it will be worth the wait!

Preoccupied!

I’ve been a preoccupied, neglectful blogger these last few months. It’s about time to explain more of what’s going on.

I’m still off sick; only now it’s unpaid sick leave. I’ve applied for EI sick leave benefits but they haven’t started coming in yet. I hope they come soon, because I’ve run through my last pay cheque, and my savings besides. Not that I had much of that left. I probably shouldn’t have invested quite so much in the business those first few months but I didn’t expect this to happen. Thankfully, I’m still able to remain on the employee dental and extended health benefit plan, provided I keep up my portion of the payment which is $25.06- much less than the cost of all my medications or a semi-private hospital bed! Or the dental cleaning I have booked for March 14th!

My physician has returned from her winter vacation and is getting together what I need from her and her clinic to apply for Long Term Disability (LTD). Both my staff health nurse and physician are confident my claim will be approved due to the amount and types of chronic illnesses I have.

I know my EI benefits will work out to about 55% of my prior income. EI sick leave is thirteen weeks long. At that point, if approved my employer’s insurance company will start my LTD benefits. Up until now I haven’t looked at what I’ll make on LTD partly out of overwhelm and partly out of fear.

Ironically, I just checked and neither of the information booklets I’ve been given specify. They say it depends on my employer’s plan with the insurance company. The example used in the FAQ booklet is at 70%, but I don’t know what our plan coverage is. I’m going to have to check on that. I’ve got an email started for Human Resources!

I was also given booklets from our pension plan. We have one of the best pension plans in Canada. It was one of a very few that was fully-funded and gaining interest during the recent recession. The pension plan offers free pension accrual for partial and total disability and a choice of either free accrual or a disability pension if I’m determined to be totally and permanently disabled. Based of course on an approval process! Since I only have twelve years in the pension plan, my disability pension would not be much!

I had my six-month follow up oncology ultrasound last week to check on the abnormal lymph nodes found on my September ultrasound. Everything seemed to be going well until the ultrasonographer said she was going to check my images with the radiologist and have him fill out my Travel Grant. He came back with her to rescan an area of my neck. I have very little to no skin sensation in my neck since my surgery in 2012. I couldn’t really tell where he was scanning except that it was in my front neck area not where the previous abnormalities were found. He said “there was an area of concern” and he would send my oncologist his report. I know my oncologist will also have access to the images. I have an appointment with my oncologist on March 25.

Until then I’m trying not to dwell on things that are unknowns. But there are so many unknowns in my life right now!!!

If you’d like a day by day account of my (currently dramatic!) life, check out my e-book, C’est Ma Vie! 2015. I’m journalling almost daily in Chapter Three: March. Chapter Two: February is being proofread and will be available in a few weeks. But don’t worry, there’s a special book purchasers only newsletter to let you know when the next chapter and its patterns are available! If you’re not sure the book’s for you, that’s ok. You can get the prologue for free by joining our newsletter, Bridgwater Crafts Pages.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is for Sale!!!

It’s been three months from the idea to fruition.

The fall last weekend backed me up a week. It is exactly seven days after the planned release, and it’s taken most of the day but it’s happened. The files and the covers have been uploaded. Descriptions and thank you emails typed. All that remains is waiting for purchasers; and the next chapter, of course.

Chapter Two: February is almost complete. The designs are almost ready for editing. Can you believe it’s almost March?!

For those of you on Ravelry, a just the patterns version will be available there tomorrow. If you buy the C’est Ma Vie! With Patterns version, contact me via the same email as your PayPal account with your Ravelry username. I’ll send you a coupon code for the Ravelry version so you can have the patterns in your library.

The books are available here or via Payhip. The regular version is $15.00 CAD. The version with patterns is $25.00 CAD. It looks like a huge difference in price but there are thirteen knit and eleven crochet patterns included in the pattern version. That’s a pretty good deal-less than a dollar a pattern whether you do both crafts or not.

Sunday is for Planning!

Bad news: If anyone told you designing was a quick way to make money, they lied!
Good news: I sold my first pattern of the year on Friday! And I tonight I won a book in a Twitter contest!

But let’s get to the planning…here’s what I’ve done:

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And here’s what I plan to do next week:

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It’s heavily concentrated on the book because, in case you forgot, it goes on sale Next Sunday!

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And did anyone notice the site got a makeover the other day? I’m still working on tweaking a few things. You may notice more changes over the next few days!

If you would like to know as soon as the book is available for sale, sign up for the newsletter. The subscribers will get the announcement first.

Design Friday

I have finally managed to get a few things accomplished! Going to bed early most nights cuts into productivity. But if I overdo it, I pay for it in pain.

The book cover has been revised. There were valid concerns of legibility in thumbnail size on websites. The same photo and colours are used but the title font and placement of a few things have been changed for the better, I think.

Chapter One: January of C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is currently being proofread.This chapter is accompanied by two knit patterns; the Damia Cowl and the Damia Hat. The Damia Cowl pattern is off with the tech editor. The Hat, I am still working on. I’ve never designed a sized pattern without knitting or crocheting each size. I’m not sure how to size the hat. I’m going to finish it tomorrow so I can email it to my tech editor. If I wait any longer it may not be ready for next Sunday’s release! I can’t believe how quickly the release is arriving! It seemed so far away when I chose the date.

I’ve been wearing the Damia Cowl when I go out. It is so warm and snuggly when it’s frigid outside.

Chapter Two: February is being written on almost daily. I think I missed one day. This chapter is accompanied by a crochet and a knit pattern. Samples one are completed for both patterns. Sample two of the crochet pattern is almost done. I should have it finished tomorrow. I will then begin the search for a crochet tech editor. Here’s a peek at sample two of the crochet design from this morning:

Elodie, sample two
Elodie, sample two

Another task for tomorrow is to figure out which yarns will be in the next few months’ designs and write some emails. I would like to include a dyer bio and yarn base info for each yarn I use. Some may decline, but I’m hoping most will see it as an opportunity for free advertising.

A New Month & A New Weekly Plan

Happy February!

I’ve started using a new weekly planner I’ve created in Evernote based roughly on one seen in a webinar and the style of task sorting in Gneo. I’m having issues with judging how long tasks will take. I’m going to have to time myself for a few weeks to get accurate times. But here’s last week’s:

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This is more difficult to show you than I thought it would be. I’ll work on that for next week! Here’s this week’s:

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I hopefully can can get a bunch of these done! It’s all a matter of pacing myself.

January 18 Weekly Review and Planning Session

Hi!

Here is my “completed” planner for last week. One day I’m going to surprise you and actually complete everything!

Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan
Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan

i think this may be the most Urgent/Important items I’ve completed in a week! One thing you may notice is something’s are shown as complete in last week’s plan but return in this week’s. I have decided to do things differently with long-term projects. If I have completed as much as possible that week, I will mark them complete but also carry them over to the next week. I’m utilizing the Notes function to track what I’ve completed so steps are not missed or duplicated.

Here is this week’s plan. I am positive I have forgotten to add something. Despite thinking about it all day, I cannot remember.

Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan
Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan

It seems long but I’m hopeful I can complete a good amount this week.