I haven't been able to post anything in a while, and it occured to me that perhaps one or two of you may wonder if perhaps I've perished and am now floating about on the other side of the veil. Sometimes I wish I were, but not as yet....I've merely become a self-imposed hermit hunched over a Dickensian dimly lit sewing machine in my own little magical sweatshop of my own creation. And I am completely, positively burned out.
Why, you ask? Because though I appear to be made of human flesh, my atoms consist primarily of jute and rubber. What I really am, is a doormat. And while I am thought to possess a rather broad vocabulary for something one wipes their feet upon...there is one word I have not been able to master vocalizing: "NO."
Lets just say I've been inundated with requests for large scale custom sewing projects over the last few months that have taken up literally every free moment of my time. I work 60 hours a week in my 'day' job, so what precious little free time I have, I prefer to spend on my loved ones and my dollmaking. But...there's that inability to say 'no' to friends and family that prevented this. I know, I know...it's my own fault.
I spoke with three costumers yesterday, and I find I am in good company. Seems any one who has worked hard to master sewing skills is literally inundated by constant good natured requests for favors. And to keep their sanity, they've all had to learn not only to edit what they do, but also to firmly state the word "NO." To family, friends and foes alike. Specifically so that their family and friends do not become their foes.
I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to be able to live a remotely happy life, I need to start making some big changes. My time is so very, very limited and precious, and I really don't get anything out of sewing slipcovers, pillowcases, sanitary napkin belts or custom clothing. Slipcovers and gowns take up too much real estate in my 400 square foot cottage. It's a pain to have to try to lay out fabric for these and crawl around on the floor pining pattern pieces to fabric. Furthermore, I rarely get paid for these 'favors'. Sure, there's the occasional treat to lunch or trinket in a lovely little bag. And that's very sweet. I do appreciate them. But a much needed paycheck in a bad economy, these are not.
Most of these individual 'favors' each require about 45 man hours of labor on my part. I need to think about my retirement and I will be on the streets in a few years if I continue to give up all my free time for free. I find it has become a burden I no longer wish to deal with. It makes me cranky. This causes residual crankiness on the part of my husband. It's affecting my marriage. At some point, something has to give.
I realize that most if not all of my loved ones will still love me and keep me around when I finally tell them the dreaded "no". And anyone who disappears upon hearing it...well, I suppose they aren't worth keeping around anyway.
So, I'm condemning my sweatshop and closing it down. No more sewing favors, no more freebies. No more sewing services, period. I just don't have time. Unless, of course, I raised you from infancy. I've raised six of these gals so I need to limit even them, cause that can add up to a lot of halloween costumes, prom dresses, wedding gowns and christening gowns. I'm seriously banking on them only wanting designer gowns and taking their business to a showroom floor and not my front porch. Seriously. Thank goodness their ages are pretty evenly staggered.
What I want to do with my spare time now is focus on my dollmaking. So that's what I'm going to do. And I'm going to love every minute of it!
By the way...Stampington has been gracious enough to include a bit of my older work in their new publication "Prims", the October 2010 edition. Eh...I don't make dolls like the ones you'll see in this issue anymore, and truth be told, at this moment I am currently giving them each a new face! But it's nice to be included among the company of the really great artists you'll see in this magazine!
They were sweet enough to ask for more submissions for their Spring 2011 issue, and since there's a fairly close deadline for that, I'm going to have to really hustle. So...clearly I don't have time to make those pillowshams for my husband. Sorry honey...I don't sew pillowshams anymore.