Sunday, 10 May 2015

Crafting, Invisible Illnesses and Animal Lover Gifts

Druzy bangle.

I have just realised that I haven't done a blog post for the whole of April! I was doing so well blogging regularly this year until Easter and then let myself down!

There are a few reasons why I haven't been so prolific on here over the last month. The main reason is my health. As I have mentioned before (on several occasions I am sure), I suffer from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I still work full time and do my crafting and my business as most of the time I am quite well. Lately, however, I haven't been as fortunate and have been off work for the last 6 weeks and most likely for a few weeks more too. Thankfully I have my crafting and my jewellery making to help keep me sane and give me something positive to focus on....and I have the company of my three adored cats - who seem to understand that something is wrong. My main issues are joint pain and swelling, skin rashes, disabling fatigue and problems with memory loss, concentrating, focusing and problem solving. My jewellery making and crafting is something that I have found very therapeutic. This is something I hear a lot from other people in similar situations - that they get a great comfort from their crafts and their pets. It is particularly so for people with 'invisible illnesses' such as SLE, MS, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety etc.

Druzy and pearl bracelet

I would really love to be able to do my business full time and it is something I have thought about a lot more recently. It is my biggest fear that one day I will be unable to hold down full time or even part time work in my chosen career. One day, I might be totally reliant on my income from crafting and selling.  My jewellery making gives me the ability to work when I feel well enough and rest when I need to (which at the moment is a lot). Having my own small business has helped me focus on the positives and give me some self respect, at times it has stopped me going crazy with frustration at not being able to do all the things I would like to do. My current situation has made me think a lot about how to move forward with it all and how to improve my sales and range. I think having a wide range of things is very important in order to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible.....but the products should all look cohesive. I knew I wanted to expand, but it was a question of how to do this. I decided what I was going to do was continue with my jewellery making as that is my passion and I love it.....but also to add a range of 'Animal Lover Gifts'. I am an enormous animal lover so I thought this would be a great way of adding to my range and it felt very 'me' also. I cannot possibly create enough products by hand (time wise and health wise) so some of my new products are 'sourced' rather than 'handmade'.....although I have embellished some of the products. I also make it clear which of my products are 'sourced' and which I have made myself as I wouldn't like to mislead people. Here are a few of my new 'Animal Lover' gifts :

Cute little cat purses 

Tuxedo Cat Notebooks 
Regular readers might recognise the black and white tuxedo cat on the notebook! He is my rescue cat Dexter. I love this photo of him. I took it last summer when he was sitting amongst the poppies in our garden. We also grew these poppies from seedlings. I have him as my logo now, but loved the picture so much I thought I would add him to my Animal Gifts range in the form of a little notebook! (any excuse to shoehorn my cat into a situation).

Animal lover stuff aside though, I am still a jewellery maker and have still been creating pieces of jewellery. I realise I have made up for not blogging in April by rambling on today, so I will leave you with a couple of pictures of some of my druzy pieces.

Druzy necklace

Druzy earrings