Taking into account I’m now 55, and not in an age of being brought up with computers, mobile phones and anything else technical, with children who appear to be more clever than me. I pat myself on the back as i have raised them. I am forever asking them questions of technical things i know nothing about, I have had an array of answers: ‘There is a big thing out there called ‘The web’, or ‘Youtube’, and ‘Audible’ where you can listen and learn about stuff, thats how i try to roll now. I stumbled across this quote I couldn’t help but send it to them.
Well, where do i start….. oh my, this has been something else. I actually had the shopping cart added in July. I have had two items added to start me off, so when you go onto my website….yes i have two sets of items for sale. Well, we are now in December, it hasn’t been for lack of trying, when you don’t know what you are doing and spend hours, because i have, trying to add items to it and is all gobbledy gook to me.I have no idea what all these boxes are on wordpress, divi, and woo commerce. Yes i have been tearing my hair out, crying with frustration, leaving it for weeks on end because i can’t face another failure, but hey, along came my friend Lacey and gave me a lesson ( thanks Lacey) it was sooo appreciated. I thought i had wrapped it all up. Well, actually after she had gone i spent the best part of 5 hours adding all my photos to my gallery editing and re-sizing them, putting all the tags on, felt super pleased with myself, updated, came out of the page without the save & exit and voila, they all went back where they came from. Screeeeeeem. So i thought no, keep calm, and go to bed and start a fresh tomorrow.
I have finally managed to achieve everything i did last night, and SAVE & EXIT….yay. And not just that i have done all my content for each product (Still on draft) no you can’t see it yet!!! until I’m completely ready which i hope will be any time now!
And failures are good aren’t they? You can only get better!
I have to say i think i am on my way to being able to build a website….. hahaha.
Planning……… It has not been something I really thought about until the last year or so. I had no idea It was a tool, but my hectic life has been reminding me otherwise. I rarely used to do lists as I always thought I would remember, but my brain loved playing games with me. A year ago I thought I was developing dementia, I started to feel worried as I just couldn’t remember anything, and It made me feel as if I was losing my mind. I used to make jokes with my family about It, or rather they used to make jokes about me. I was referred to a specialist, had an MRI scan, and was relieved it was all fine. The problem was, my blood wasn’t going round my body and my head the way it should because my heart wasn’t functioning properly. It has now been repaired, but unfortunately I still appear to have memory loss, so I’m going to put It down to my age!
So getting back to planning… I started by buying a planner for the beginning of the year, we all have good Intentions of starting the year with good thoughts and plans and then……… we forget. I have been filling my planner in, sometimes I forget, or I’m too busy to look and see what I have planned, and that Is where I slip up. Recently I have tried my hardest to keep up with it after having a bit of a fall at my first craft fair. I was very disorganised and forgot to do this and that, trying to get everything ready at the last minute, which didn’t really work and added so much stress to the whole thing. It was a big learning curve and I think it has taught me a bit of a lesson because since coming back I felt I needed to take stock with things that haven’t gone very well, and start planning ahead, and being more organised (which is going to be a job in Itself). My son has reminded me that if you plan your day the evening before you are 25% more productive the next day. So that is where the planner comes in, my 15 minute nightly ritual, I just have to learn to adhere to It.
a list or chart with information that is an aid to planning.
“my day planner”
If you don’t fail, you will never be successful. Don’t lose faith.
Don’t fear failure, fear being In the exact same place next year as you are today.
Note to self: Don’t give up. You at a different place, and further than you were last year, so look forward, and keep on planning.
Early last year, after a few trips to A&E by ambulance I eventually had a scan and had the unfortunate news that I had a 2.4cm hole In my heart. Not just that, but I needed open heart surgery to repair It. I had a leaking valve, more palpitations than I could cope with, loss of memory, due to my blood shunting back to my lungs, ‘Impressive’ the surgeon said. It crept up on me, and was such a shock. Over the months of being at home, not being able to walk far, couldn’t drive too far by myself. I only went anywhere If someone could take me. Any craft things it was my friend Selina, or other long journeys, my family. Not only was I scared to death, so were my family. And waiting months for the consultants to decide who was doing what I eventually had it In November. While waiting around for months I was designing and making things, not being able, or have much enthusiasm to do much else. I went to the AFCI UK ‘One big show’ last June and they had a feature there called ‘The Creative Dragons’ which I went to with my little whimsical houses, it was extremely scary. I had a table with my products on, and when I got home was called by the buyer Joanne from ‘Hochanda’ and invited onto the show. I was lucky I had my son Samuel to help get all the costings and things together and friends to help decorate, and get them ready. My first show was on the 29th September. I was definitely not firing on all cylinders, and looking back I don’t know how I did It. But yay, I did.
I designed some more and went on ‘Hochanda’ again with them on the 26th March. I managed to get them all packed up and sent to customers, to then fall ill and be taken Into hospital twice with chest pain due to coughing, ended up with a chest Infection, then pneumonia. Lots of antibiotics later, I’m just about feeling better again.
Just before all that happened, I had decided I would like to attend the ‘Create It’ with all my products, so I booked It…….. And here we are 5 Days to go before setting off, and panicking, preparing for my first big craft show on the 19th and 20th May at the ‘Kent Showground’ It’s all very daunting. There has been a lot to think about. The organisation for the workshops, and then we would need paints, embellishments, paper, glues, Inks and the list Is endless, and an absolute…….
A subject or situation presenting unseen hazards.
Yes, that’s just about It, a minefield!!!
So with the help of my groupies, P.A’s, AKA Selina, and Karen (or Lacey & Minnie I call them now) who are organising me, (sorry, helping me) all the way, and our new addition Lynda, who has created a lovely Whimsical house, story book and cards. We have a friend Kathryn making some samples and helping on Saturday. We also have had some lovely cards made by Pat Batley which will be on show. On Sunday my son Jordan and a friend will be our assistants and hopefully help pack up and drive the van home, as Im sure we will be exhausted. And the next day I’m off to Poland for a little break with my daughter Amber, her partner Chris and my granddaughter Isla, (her first little trip abroad).
We are really looking forward to the show with anticipation and excitement.
From where I started through my terrible grief losing my mum, which Is still unbearably painful, and my own health scare, It’s all starting to look a little bit more of a brighter journey.
I was crafting for a really long time as a hobby. When the unexpected became a shocking reality and my lovely mum was taken from us, I was thrown off my perch, and completely lost myself in my grief, crafting. It has eventually pushed me into some kind of different direction, turning my hobby into a business, something I hadn’t before given much thought about. For the last couple of years, it has since been a little dream, that was becoming real. I started to think about design, and what I could do. By chance, I was looking at making my granddaughter Ava Rose a little whimsical house for all her little animals and started to think about other little whimsical houses I could design. Towards the end of last summer, it all started to come together even though I was going through ill health at the time. I had an appearance on ‘Hochanda’ with them, so I thought I should, and would, need a website. Now being a bit of a ‘Last minute.com’ I have actually got round to getting it done. Hoorah! Just In time for the next show: 26th March at 3pm.
I will be filling my blog with step by step instructions on how to decorate the whimsical houses, and starting ‘Youtube’ videos which I have been planning for ages. Under the section of ‘Itsy bitsy’s’ there Is ‘A pocket full of Polly’ – I thought I could share some bits about my family, recipes or any other things that might be interesting. And ‘Snippets’ which will be about products I like, new products I am trying, and chats with crafty friends. There Is also a page for craft shows I will attend this year, workshops I will hold, and anything else that Is coming up. I hope you will take a little peek.
So here I was at the age of 53 attempting to get to grips learning social media ‘The Facebook’, they laugh away, those girls of mine, ‘It’s not ‘The Facebook’, It’s just ‘Facebook’. ‘Twitter’, Oh my, I’v barely started that one, not even one tweet. With the help of my two 15 year olds, Natalia and Shannon (that find me a figure of fun), and out of my comfort zone, and my depth, they have taught me the basics. Over the months I’m thinking I have become a bit more confident with my Instagram photography, with my little card makes Into something out of a home magazine. I try not to ask my children ‘How do I do this’? the answer I used to get from my then 30 year old son was ‘Google It’, really? Tell you what ‘Why don’t you all make me feel like the ‘VI’ AKA the ‘Village Idiot’? Boo hoo. When they were small and they were learning to walk/talk, did I say ‘Here you go, a little book that will teach you how to put one foot in front of the other, and you will find words to string a sentence together. Oh I forgot ‘You can’t read’ Even my granddaughter Ava came to me the other week saying ‘Nana, I will show you how to use your kindle’ Hilarious!, and yes ‘VI’ again, comes to mind. What happened to ‘How do I do this’? and you just do It the old fashioned way explain, and show me. We forever need to carry on learning. So try as I must, I use ‘Google’ and ‘Youtube’ which I am finding more interesting than T.V. There Is a wealth of information and instructions on there, I’m becoming addicted.
So here Is my new next step I am faced with, ‘You have to do a blog’ everyone has a blog, another something new for me to learn. And yes I have been putting It off for months. I thought I would just wait until the website was done, because I need to take my ‘Professional photos’ the best way I know how, and that takes time. I have to start sometime, no more putting It off. I have got so behind we are now onto vlogging, everyone Is doing It. Every time I go on Facebook someone else Is doing It. I have lessons on my ‘Makelight’ dashboard that I must catch up on, teaching me ‘How to’. Soon I hope to be ‘The confident blogger/ Vlogger, Oh, and Is there a word for the ‘Live video’ thing where people can message you as you are demo-ing away? I just can’t keep up with It all. I might try that first, maybe not by next week. Don’t they know at this age we are a little slower at taking things in? Hence why we are mistaken for…….. yes, you know.
Although October Is a lovely month full of autumnal colour, It Is not such a lovely month on a personal level. On the 18th October my family and myself have to go through the motions of the day that we lost a beautiful wife, mummy, grandma and great grandma. The last three years on her anniversary I have taken my dad to lake where she Is buried and try and get through our day.
The day we lost her was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and still struggle so much In my life without her. I was still attached to her apron string at the age of 51. Her and my dad were a massive part of my life and bringing up my six children. She was the light of our whole life. I felt as If my own life had been sliced In half and It went flying off with her. I had no Idea how I was going to carry on. I still to this day don’t understand the concept of death. You spend most of your life with your mother then she Is gone, but her clothes, her things are still there, that I went and bought with her.
Three years on we still can’t bear to part with them. We went shopping all the time, went to craft fairs, did craft things for so many years. I still find It hard to go to places we went, which was mostly everywhere. ‘Where are you? I used to say, ‘Mum where have you gone’? ‘I don’t understand’, I’m sure I was going mad. Counselling did nothing to help my terrible grief, too early perhaps. I was living In my own little bubble, no shopping for dinner, lunch boxes, no washing, no anything. The girls became like ‘Matilda’, from Roald Dahl’s book, making their own. I was neglecting my own family. They were very much trying to look after me, the blank empty soul that I felt. Christmas came and went, how dreadful for them looking back, there was no celebration, I cancelled It, ignored It, as she wasn’t there to share It with us. I can never give that back to them. Every day was bleak, and I had no Idea what day of the week It was. From the time the consultant told us there was nothing more they could do until she left us five weeks later we were on autopilot. Myself, my sister, daughters and nieces became the live-In nurses until she was left at peace.
I struggled through the whole of the next year not knowing what to do with myself, and couldn’t see what I was going to do for the rest of my life. In January 2016 I went to Anaheim to the CHA trade show for crafts and had a holiday at Venice beach by myself. I didn’t want to come back, I wanted to be in another life. There was no chance of that as I had a family at home. They needed me at whatever capacity, after all I was their mother. Being away and visiting the trade show inspired me to carry on with my crafts. When I got home, my Inks and stamps came out again, and I spent most of the day designing things and making cards, and the rest of all my other days not doing anything else. I don’t think to this day I have done a weekly shop, just daily, because I could only think about what was going on that day. My mind couldn’t do anything else. I could lose myself all day In making things and It has got me through the last few of years.
In June 2016 I went to ‘Creative exchanges’ and ‘The one big show’ AFCI-UK (Association for creative Industries) and met Craig De Souza the executive director, who has helped me come on to a level I could have only dreamed about, and helped me perhaps see a little pin prick light at the end of my tunnel. I met some ladies who have become firm friends and extremely supportive to me, Selina Dudley and Karen Claire.