Back to Biz Not Back to School

It’s back to school season here. I’m not planning a return to school but I am returning to working in and on Bridgwater Crafts!

I didn’t officially leave but I’ve been inactive for far too long! So much of my life changed a few years ago and in some ways, I never recovered. I finally feel like I have both my creativity and my energy back. I want to create again. I need to create again.

My life will never return to what it was but it can still be wonderful. It can still include old goals and dreams but some may need adjustments.

I’m working on getting back into the habit of thinking and working as a biz owner not just as a crafter. I’m trying to figure out where I want to go from here and how to get there. So much has changed since the last time I figured out goals and plans.

I have a lot to work through. I have a few small goals and plans in mind to start. Now it’s just to recreate habits and gain momentum!

How is it January 20th Already?

2017 has arrived and I’m already behind on my posts. I want to do at least one per week. I’ll work on that going forward.

So far, January has been a painful month. I’ve been having a lot of lower back and hip pain. I’m still learning the current limit of my arthritis in my left shoulder. I keep forgetting and moving it past it’s limits causing extra pain. We’ve had strange highs and lows in temperature which is causing a fibro flare. As a result the month is flying by. I had an appointment booked with a rheumatologist for January 10 in a city 3 hours away but we had a snowstorm going through the region that day. The road conditions were so bad we turned around three communities over and came back. I called and left a voice mail cancelling due to the weather.

I have not made any concrete business or life plans for 2017. I have however done a few things towards the future. I know my North Star of the year is truth-I want to be more me this year and bring more of me into the business. My quarter one (January-March) goal is consistency and my 2017 goal is sustainability.

I’m adding book reviews to the mix of blog topics and I want to read more this year. I’ve joined NetGalley and LibraryThing to access books authors and publishers want reviewed. I’ve also joined the InstaFreebie newsletter. They coordinate free book giveaways and provide a platform for authors to give their books away. I also joined Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge.

To grow my designing and knitting skills I joined Aroha Knits 5 shawls in 5 days challenge. You make five mini shawls learning the different shapes of shawls and how to achieve them.

I had sales in the shop over Christmas. They were in person sales but sales nonetheless. I’m working on a new design and on a commission knit.

To grow my business skills and plan 2017, I’m working through Tara Swiger’s new book Map Your Business. I’m also taking her and Joeli of JoeliCreates Elevate Your Instagram challenge and their Elevate Your Business course later this month.

Since starting to obtain books to review I have become part of three authors’ launch teams (one for a series, one for a book, and the other for all her books) and applied to join another’s. Watch for more on those in the near future!

Works In Progress Thursday 28/07/2016

This week’s WIP post is the first that will include more than just my fibre-work. I’m adding in other areas of my life.

Knitting
I’m working on a few things this week.

My Amulet Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
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Arielle on Newport Bridge (a design sample)
www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
Bettina at the Beach (a design sample)
ww.BridgwaterCrafts.com
But I’ve also dug into my WIP basket to see what was really inside. I found four sets of partial socks, two for me, one for my eldest nephew and one for my great-nephew; a knit spa cloth sample; a crochet shawl sample;  two headband samples; a bag of yarn for a hat for my great-nephew to match a colour work sweater I knit him; a bag of squares for a sock blanket sample; and a bag of leftover Aran yarn, needles and hook from the Damia Hat and Cowl-did I plan to make matching mittens? And this doesn’t include three sample blankets and a shell stored elsewhere or my UFOs (unfinished objects) that are probably still packed from my move last year.

Reading
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
Spirituality Without Structure by Nimue Brown
The Bee Cottage Story by Frances Schultz

I also have book WIPs:

The Mindfulness Solution to Pain by Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix
The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
Manage Your Day-To-Day by 99U
Put Your Budget On A Diet by Kimberly Eddy
Plan It, Don’t Panic by Stephanie Langford
Pack Lightly Stylishly by Amanda Jimenez
The Art of Minimalist Organization by Ben Night
Seeking the Mystery by Christine Hoff Kraemer
The Scent of Magic by Andre Norton
Scarcity by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan
Hedgewitch Book of Days by Mandy Mitchell
The Woman’s Fibromyalgia Toolkit by Drs Atul Deodhar and Dawn Marcus
Knitter’s Almanac, Commemorative Edition by Elizabeth Zimmermann
One Magic Square by Lola Houbein
DIY Chick Lit by Alicia de los Reyes
The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente
Market Yourself by Tara Swiger
Enough Already by Alan Cohen

I have lots of book WIPs! I didn’t realize how many books I had partly read. I wasn’t so bad with these until I started getting idevices. Now I not only have my Kobo Glo but also the Kobo app, the Kindle app, PDF Expert app and iBooks app. It’s too easy to have books started on all my devices!

Have you noticed a theme?

Books and yarn are a major part of my life!

Crochet Testers Wanted 04/06/2016

Bridgwater Crafts
Kaylin Spa Cloth

I’m almost finished my crochet design, Kaylin Spa Cloth. I just need to add some photos and do some formatting. So, it’s time to start looking for testers. If you are interested in becoming one of my testers please notify me by leaving a comment here, emailing me or pm me on Ravelry.

Kaylin is one of six designs in my upcoming Hooks, Needles and Spoons ebook. The ebook consists of three crochet and three knit patterns that are simple basics; simple enough you can work on them with little brainpower required and finish with a usable product.

Here’s the info again-I know it’s pretty small in the photo!
Necessary Skills (American Crochet Terms)
Slip Knot
Chain
Single Crochet
Weaving In Of Ends

Materials
Worsted Weight Cotton (50 g)
6 mm/J/10 hook
Tapestry Needle

Tester Requirements
Crochet washcloth by June 20.
Testers are required to provide feedback on clarity of instructions, errors found and any suggestions.
Complete a project page on Ravelry.
Link project page to pattern page upon publication.

Tester Compensation
In appreciation of their time and work, testers will be gifted the published pattern in their Ravelry libraries and a coupon code for 20% off any existing and new patterns in my Ravelry store valid until December 31, 2016.

FO Friday 18/03/2016

Happy Birthday Mackenzie! I can’t believe you’re 16 already!

My first finished object this week is a baby hat I made my friend in case she has a girl. Since they chose to not know the sex of the baby I made unisex hats for the baby shower but I want to have at least two girl hats too. This hat like the others I made is improvised so there’s no pattern to link. It’s just my standard hat with some lace on the brim.

A baby hat by www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A hat for Baby Girl

The rest of my finished objects are lots of headbands. I made another for me and a bunch for Mackenzie’s birthday gift. I really like how these headbands fit and how they use up scraps. I am now leaning towards releasing the design.

Tanis Headband on www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A gathering of headbands!

I didn’t get as much completed as I’d hoped this week but more than I usually do during a flare so I’m happy.

WIP Wednesday 17/02/2016

I have many Works In Progress (WIPs) but only a few are active so those are the ones I’ll talk about today. All three are design samples, two for the same design.

This is a Jayven Blanket in the double bed size. The finished product, once photographed, will be donated to a refugee family coming here soon. The squares are complete. I just need to join them and add the border.

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This is a Jayven Blanket in a king bed size. I’m working on the last rounds on the squares.

And this is the JJ Afghan. It’s about a third complete. It depends if JJ, my nephew slows on the growth spurts. The finished sample will be his fifth birthday gift.

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I’m Periscoping!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you heard of Periscope?

Have you tried it out?

After watching friends and colleagues broadcasting I decided to give it a go. If you missed the live scope, it’s ok-the replay is available for 24 hours on the Periscope app or at http://Periscope.tv/bridgwaterk and on http://Katch.me/bridgwaterk. I also plan to upload them to the Bridgwater Crafts YouTube Channel. Watch for the title, My First Periscope! An Introduction with @bridgwaterk #bridgwatercrafts #creativebiz #yarnscope #chronicpain.

I hope to be back broadcasting a WIP Wednesday scope!

Thank you for watching! I’ll add the link or embed the video once I figure out all this technology!

Every periscope broadcast will be accompanied by a blog post of show notes with links to anything I talk about.

My business/life goals this week are to continue unpacking from my recent move, read Chapter One of Market Yourself by Tara Swiger and to scope at least once more this week!
I hope to be back broadcasting a WIP Wednesday scope!

Thank you for watching! & reading!

My Weekly Plan

Hi!

I hope to write this topic post on Sunday but it didn’t happen this week. I’ll  try to do better next week!

I have a number of things scheduled this week but I also have goals and plans for the week. I’m trying to have three main monthly goals and three main weekly goals although, of course, those are not the only things I intend to do. In the Starship we have quarterly goals as well. I am failing most of my quarterly goals due to illness, stress and moving. There isn’t the time to do everything I want within the limits of what my body can do. I’m trying to adjust my life to what my body can realistically do in a day, week, month and quarter.

September is not over but I’m pretty sure my monthly goals are not going to be met although I will try. My main September goals are now the move, and finishing the king-size blanket sample for the design I’m working on.

This week my main goals are packing, moving things, and unpacking them again; crocheting the sample and setting up a content calendar for October. I plan to start periscoping in October so content planning now includes periscope, blogging, Instagram, the Facebook Page and Twitter.

For anyone who isn’t aware, I’m awaiting disability approval, slowly building my business and moving in with my mother. I’m now at Mum’s so is my husky, Mira, staying in the spare room while I move my belongings over. My cats are moving in this week and my furniture this weekend. I need to be completely out of my house by the end of September. So much to do and so little time and energy…

Happy Sunday! It’s Time for Weekly Review & Sunday Planning!

Hi!

Did you see my guest interview on the Kate the (Almost) Great blog? It went live this morning! If you followed the interview to my site, welcome!

This week didn’t show much in the way of results. I spent lots of time sleeping off a flare. But as you can see a few things did get accomplished.

19/4/15-25/4/15 Plan
19/4/15-25/4/15 Plan

A few of these were impulse decisions. I’ve been considering ways to blog more. A column on what I’m reading seemed obvious since I read almost daily and hope to increase my reading time. I joined the Cooperative Press Affiliate program as soon as it was announced a while ago but didn’t actively look for more until this week. I don’t want to clutter my web pages with advertisements to other businesses so affiliate links seem a good compromise on adding income to the business. I’ve been accepted for a few, turned down for one and a few are pending approval still.

Affiliate links cost nothing to the reader. I insert a link regarding for example one of CP’s books, like Market Yourself, that I’m reading or using. You click the link. If you then purchase an item I receive a small commission. If you don’t buy nothing happens. As soon as I figure out how to use them I’ll start inserting affiliate links in my future posts and on my pages. As time permits, I’ll go through and add them to past posts.

Here’s what’s planned for this week. For anyone new, I always over-schedule then choose the task based on my energy level and fogginess. I have yet to complete everything on my plan!

26/4/15-02/5/15 Task Plan
26/4/15-02/5/15 Task Plan

Let’s hope I do better this week!

Returning to Sunday Previews

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post for this column. I stopped because I was having difficulties finding the right scheduling system and what I was using was not photographing well for the posts. I am fumbling around in a flare and accomplishing very little these days. I hope returning to this column will provide accountability. I hope it will help me to find incentive to do more business-wise. I have returned to using Gneo for my weekly schedule. I am not currently using a daily schedule. I stopped because it was too discouraging when I was completing so little. I’ve also discovered I work better when I choose my task in the moment. I don’t know Sunday afternoon how I will feel at 2 pm Thursday afternoon, how fatigued and fibro foggy I may be, but I do know at 2 pm on Thursday. This allows me to better pick a task I can accomplish.

Here is this week’s schedule:

This week's schedule

I just realized, I missed a few things in my plan. I should have checked my iCal! I also have our usual Starship chat on Wednesday afternoon and an Evernote webinar on Thursday night. I’ll add those to the plan but I’m not retaking the post photo!