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Success

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This post is two-fold. One – to proclaim some of my successes. Two – to talk about the concept of success in general.

Last night we put Joshua down in his own cot is his own room where he stayed all night. Hooray. Now, that’s not to say he slept through (far from it – he woke at 11, 1, 2, 3, 3.30, and 5) and neither is it to say I didn’t have to feed him (11 and 5) but it’s a huge step for us as parents. He fell asleep feeding at 7 and transferred like a dream. He was still in his crib at 7 this morning. Hip-hip-thank-you-God-hooray. Context: Since Joshua was born he’s been in our room. He was pretty much in with us for the first three months and then gradually spent more and more time in the crib next to me. He would invariably end up in our bed at 4ish, feeding on and off, and stay there until I made Steve get up with him at 6.30ish. He fed every two hours, and pretty much has done since birth. That meant I haven’t had more than an hour and  half sleep in a row since March 27th. So last night was a dream – Steve got up to settle him each time, sometimes with water, usually without, and I fell straight back to sleep after hearing him stir. I fed him at 5 and went back to bed and then got up with him at 7 and we have had a lovely morning together. I feel like a whole different person. And I know every parent says that when their child sleeps through or changes room, or something, but it’s so true! I have had proper sleep, I haven’t felt like a feeding machine, and I’ve had a lovely time with my son. What’s more, he has gone down for his nap in the big cot with the same struggle/ease as he ever went down in the little crib. So we are counting our blessings here this morning.

So what about success? Have we achieved the aim? No, far from it. The aim is to get him to fall asleep by himself, sleep through and wake up happily. We have achieved one of those, but we are from ‘a success’. Yet we are elated – we are one step closer to where we hope to be, everyone is happy(ish – Steve could have done with a few more hours in bed this morning!) and we know we are getting there. So that got me thinking. In life I tend to see things as a failure if I haven’t reached the end goal, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Take ivylou.com as an example. I have posted on here previously that I failed. I didn’t do what I set out to do. That is true, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have some success. I made hundred of cards – I was creative. I built a website – I was creative. I made piles of jewellery – I was creative. My aim was to make money by being creative and although I didn’t make money, I certainly was creative. Did I enjoy it all? No. Building websites is hard and boring. But I learnt lots of things along the way, and I have a better idea of what I want to do next time around.

When I have time I want to invest some of that spare time in learning a new skill – I want to delve into the world of hand-lettering. I want to be able to create my own designs and patterns. And then maybe something will come of it. I have ideas, but I’m not going to get despondent if they don’t work out, because my success will be that I tried, and that I gained an extra skill. Throughout my life I have picked up skills and talents, and it is only now that I look back at them that I see the process of learning those things as a success. Did I think, as I threw yet another batch of cupcakes in the bin, that I was succeeding? Probably not. Did I think, as I counted my financial losses at the craft fairs that my craft business was succeeding? Definitely not. Did I think, as I realised how much of the Bible I have no clue about, that my biblical knowledge was sufficient? No. But throughout all of these experiences I have had thousands of tiny successes. The next batch needs more flavour. I now know what not to spend money on. I know Romans really well, and that will do for now.

So for now I will revel in my tiny success of last night, and I shall look forward to seeing what tiny successes today brings.

 

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Daybook #2

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outside my window…
darkness

thankful for…
friends that enabled me to go to Momentum

thinking about…
how intellect and faith can interact

learning…
about brush pens for use in hand lettering

creating…
plans to build up a hand lettering sketchbook for use on canvases in the future

going…
to bed

hoping…
that my passion for creativity will result in action, not just ideas.

wondering…
what to do with my afternoons this week

reading…
Woman In White – Wilkie Collins. 

praying…
for inspiration, determination, sleep, supernatural time, and a mentor for J-J.

hearing…
the occasional spurt of music through the baby monitor

eating…
nothing. I had dippy eggs two hours ago – perfect Sunday night yumminess. 

a few of my favourite things…
dippy eggs and buttered soldiers. watching my boy sleep. beautifully written words.

plans for the rest of the week…
Monday is cake baking for Steve’s birthday on Tuesday. Tuesday is dinner out (baby sitter booked – exciting!) Wednesday is swimming in the afternoon and date night. Thursday is a church leaders meeting with Steve Nicholson (USA Vineyard) and Friday Dad and Jane are coming over. Just need to find some things to keep me and the boy busy with in the day time… 

Daybook

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I stumbled across a lovely blog earlier today: Better Than Eden and found a post (yesterdays, in fact) called ‘Daybook for a February Afternoon‘ and I really liked the idea of it. I don’t know if this is ‘a thing’ in the blogging world that I have just never seen before, or whether it is Mary’s original idea, but I love it and want to do something similar here. Perhaps it will help me blog slightly more frequently…? Mary, I hope you don’t mind. 🙂

 

outside my window…
Well, I’m currently killing time in my office before a midwife appointment. (I didn’t see the point in travelling home to travel back here in an hour when the appointment is literally across the road…) so I can see hundreds of teenagers milling about supposedly going to their fifth lesson of the day. Lots of them, however, are choosing to stand around chatting, which given that it’s raining I find peculiar. The view from the window is usually pretty dull, although there is a window above me which is beautiful on sunny days.

thankful for…
my job. I love my work. I’m looking forward to going on maternity leave, but I really do have every intention of coming back for a couple of hours a day to do what I’m good at with people I enjoy spending time with. I am so blessed to have a job that I enjoy.

thinking about…
what God has in store for the next few months for me in terms of ministry. I’ve had a tumultuous journey in this regard in recent days. I’m still mulling it all over.

learning…
about ‘Religion in History; Conflict, Conversion and Coexistence.’ I should probably be doing degree work now instead of blogging… having the page open counts, right, even if I’m not looking at it…?

creating…
a blog post.

going…
to the midwife appointment which is a week overdue because I was at the Leaders Conference last week.

hoping…
for the birth I have envisaged in my head. And hoping that my husband will catch up to this idea. 

wondering…
how to remain motivated in times of lethargy (which for me are persistent)

reading…
I should be reading course material, but I’m not. On my bedside table at the minute I have two books. One is Rebecca which I have yet to start and the other is The Baby Book which I am finding interesting. 

praying…
for guidance and wisdom (aren’t we all, always?!)

hearing…
my playlist on Grooveshark which is a very eclectic mix of all manner of genres. 

eating…
whatever I can get my hands on! Specifically, at the minute, it’s a buttered hot cross bun which I should have eaten in my fictional lunch break.

a few of my favourite things…
old fashioned milk bottle sweets, normal-and-earl-grey-mix tea, getting snail mail (which I got at work today!! Somehow my Auntie managed to send me a letter to my work address…)

plans for the rest of the week…
clear the ‘nursery’ and get it painted, start the prep for my final two essays for my course, do some more of the crochet blanket I started a while ago. 


That was fun. A blog post in 20 minutes. Boom!!

the shop has gone

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😦

I know that closing the shop is the sensible thing to do, but somehow I feel sad about it. I worked really, really hard to set ivylou.com up and get the products made and photos taken and descriptions written. It seems sad that it’s all gone, in just one email to the site host (create.net – who are great, if ever you want to make a site/shop for anything. No, they didn’t pay me to say that.) I feel like I’ve failed. Other people manage to make from-home-craft-businesses work, why couldn’t I? My initial guess is that I didn’t put any money into advertising, as a couple of people said I should. Quite frankly, by the time I’d put in the cash and time building the site (not to mention the massive backlog of craft stuff needed to make the products) I didn’t have the energy to research and dole out money on advertising, that had no guarantee of working. I also didn’t keep the blog updated, which seems to be the success of most other crafters I’ve followed. I guess I got bored. I wanted the orders to just roll in (obviously) but I wasn’t passionate enough about it. 

Having spent the last several weeks sorting out our ‘nursery’ (read: ‘room full of junk’) I’ve been sifting through craft stuff, products I made for the shop (still have over 200 cards!!) and kind of lamenting my lack of enthusiasm. I’m actually a very un-motivated person. I have ideas, I start them, and then I don’t finish them. Take the proof-reading course I started three years ago. I’ve got one module to go (which, technically, I’ve already completed and posted, Royal Mail lost it for me..) but I can’t find the impetus to finish it (again). I really should, given that I’m about to be on maternity leave for at least 9 months, and it would be a good way of earning a little bit of extra cash, if I wanted to. But at this rate, I’m not going to have the motivation to earn the cash! I guess that bothers me. My life could be so different if I actually saw stuff through. If I stuck with my guns, maintained momentum, stayed motivated. Not that I’m unhappy with my life, please understand. I’m VERY happy. In fact, I’m the happiest now I’ve ever been: I have an amazing husband, a fantastic job, a lovely cat, I live in a nice flat, my family is close by, and I have a tiny peanut on the way in a pregnancy that has gone remarkably smoothly. I am happy and thankful for what I have. But I know that there could be more, if only I could stay motivated.

So the shop is gone. And as I sit here thinking, on my lunch break at work, I know that it’s for the best – I’m busy at the minute, let alone with a baby to care for too. If I couldn’t manage it in the last two years then I’m certainly not going to be able to manage it in the next few. I have a job, a house, a degree to finish, and soon an infant. Life is full and something had to go. It’ll save us money (hosting etc) and it’ll make me feel better, I hope, that there isn’t something I should be doing that I’m not. I have enough of that in my life as it is. So now, I just need to learn to be content with making what I make and doing what I do for the benefit of those immediately around me, not strangers in the ether. I should be ok with that, right?

ivylou.

so, it’s been a while

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Hmm. The snow is falling here on wordpress – I guess I’ve been gone a while. (You probably won’t understand that unless you own a wordpress blog).

So, I’ve been away for along time, and I’ve just popped back in to say that the new year will be a better one for blogging for me, and that there are new products in the shop!

I got all inspired a few weeks ago to make some earrings, and everyone I’ve shown them to has loved them. So I made loads more. And now they’re all on the site ready to be bought by you lovely people.

To see them, go here: http://www.ivylou.com/earrings.html

I’m hoping to add a few more styles in the next couple of days. As well as a whole host of cards I’ve made. I’ve got about 300 cards sitting in a box on the top of my wardrobe (the only place safe from Sherlock) and I really should have added them weeks ago.

I made them all in preparation for the Christmas fayre that I had a stall at a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a huge success (due to bad organisation methinks) but I did learn alot. 

Image
my stall at the fayre (yes, I made the quilt.)

I learnt that lots of people look and not a lot of people buy. I learnt that looking busy is key. I learnt that chatting to customers means more customers will come. I learnt that time passes slowly when you’re expecting to make your fortune. I learnt that this isn’t as easy I thought it might be. 

 

I’ve got another fayre coming up this week. Except this time I’ll be the only craft stall there, I think, as it’s a ladies’ pamper evening for charity. I get the impression it will be quite well attended, and I’m hopeful that I can get rid of most of the earrings I’ve made.  (and hopefully some of the cards!)

 

I learnt though, that I enjoy selling from fayres more than I enjoy selling online. I hate managing my website. I’m not very good at it, and therefore I’m not overly pleased with the results. Ah well. it’s the best I’ve got for now. 

I also like giving away my new business cards (http://ivylou.vpweb.co.uk) – makes me feel all official. 

I really need to go to bed; I start work in 8 hours.

 

Blackberry blogging

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So, WordPress released a Blackberry app. Wooo!! Let’s see if this makes me blog more. Sometimes I feel guilty about my lack of blogging – I read dozens of blogs, the majority of which post at least once a day (sometimes three or four times!!) and I feel like if I want to ivylou.com off the ground in the way I hope, then I should do more. But I’m busy!! I’m working like crazy at the minute; every day just gets busier and busier, and I come home with the aim of doing all the things on my imaginary-yet-very-real to-do list, but 9 times out of 10 I end up asleep. Despite the best efforts of a hyper kitty. Then I wake up and it’s time to cook, then eat, then chill with My Boy, then it’s bedtime and we start all over again. Blogging is quite low down on the list really, after home, work, cat, ivylou and not forgetting the degree…

Anyway. I did more to the wardrobe. I found out, once I’d moved it in from the hallway, that I’ve missed a great big chunk, but I can rectify that later. I love it. It still doesn’t have handles, but I can cope with that for a while. If I get desperate I’ll put ribbon through the holes or something. I’m pleased with it, 🙂

Ok, I’m going to post this and see what happens. I’ve tried to include a photo, but I don’t know if it’s worked.

Until next time…

ivylou xxx

All cream and handle-less

All cream and handle-less

My first proper project

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As well as throwing a dinner party last week for MIL, and investing a huge amount of time in relationship building with the kitten, I also started my first ever renovation project. Well, maybe renovation isn’t the word. More of a ‘take-something-not-so-nice-and-make-it-prettier’ project.

Here is what I started with:

The lovely shiny black wardrobe we were given

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not ungrateful. We’ve never owned a wardrobe with doors. We’ve had clothes piled on the floor for years. We’ve thrown out mouldy clothes becasue we’ve lived in ground floor unventilated flats. But look at it! It’s black. Black. As in the darkest colour it is possible to achieve. Or, alternatively, the complete lack of ANY colour at all. There was no way this was making it in to my teeny-tiny-already-overcrowded-flat. So it sat in the hall (that’s my front door on the left there) for a while while I begged and borrowed a sander. Thankfully we have lovely neighbours, so they didn’t mind it sitting there for a few days. Then me and my friend got to work. We heaved the wardrobe outside. We sanded and we rinsed and we sanded and drank tea and sanded some more. Then we cracked open the white emulsion and put a very thin layer on. Then it rained.

So I waited. It took a couple of days for me and the Boy to get round to bringing it back inside, but we did in the end. It’s currently still in the hall having had it’s second coat of white. I think it still needs another one! Black is a hard colour to mask. Eventually it’s going to be a gorgeous rubbed-back, shabby-chic, mushroom-stone kind of colour. It’s going to have new handles and be filled with lovely clothes – dresses and jumpers and scarves and trousers and everything else that is living on our bedroom floor at the minute.

I haven’t got any more photos at the minute – I haven’t transferred them from my Blackberry. I’ll keep you posted, hopefully with pictures. It’s going to take time – I have to be in the mood for this kind of thing, and I’m away all weekend at a wedding, so after tonight I won’t be able to do anything else to it until at least Monday afternoon.

I’m about to go out now and give it another coat of white on the inside.

Take care,
ivylou
x x

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