That’s quite the ominous title, isn’t it? Bare with me.
It’s funny, you learn a lot about your family and your friends when you have a chronic health problem. Especially when your body starts to fail. You also learn a lot about yourself.
Over the last few weeks I have been struggling horribly with health issues. Every so often the fibro gets so far out of control I need an adult to leave the house. Seriously, I got lost going to and from the library not long ago. a 20 minute trip (all I needed to do was pick up something on hold) turned into an hour and a half trip. When I got home a family member jokingly asked if I had gotten lost. Yes. Yes I did. It’s not the first time this has happened and it probably won’t be the last. The arthritis has gotten so bad that some days I can barely use my hands.
When I bought my Tulip Etimo hooks I was thrilled to have ergo hooks where I could crochet with aggravating already existing tendinitis and carpal tunnel. No, I did not get either from playing video games or improper posture at the computer. It developed in my early teens as a result of playing the flute. I found that crocheting provided great exercise for my hands and helped with arthritis related stiffness that sometimes set in. These last weeks it’s been hard to even crochet between severe swelling, stiffness (I am convinced I know what rigamortis feels like and I really do sympathize with zombies now), and extreme pain. For every 5 minutes that I would work on something I would have to put it down and rest my hands for 10.
My fine motor skills are slowly going south because of this.
And this is just my hands and wrists. The problem also exists to this extent in my neck, knees, feet and ankles. Chronic pain takes a lot out of the body and I have been sleeping a lot. It brings on an exhaustion all of it’s own. This is where fibro comes into play and complicates things. Fibromyalgia causes sleep disturbances where you never enter stages 3 and 4 of sleep where you get your real rest and the body heals itself.
A fall that caused more pain in an already painful wrist and the realization that my body was failing much quicker and much earlier than I ever expected caused me a bit of panic. I realized that the days of needing a wheelchair weren’t all that far away. My doctor and I even discussed it, which is a huge thing. I have always been stubbornly unwilling to discuss certain health issues even though I know how bad they are and have come to terms with it. I told my doctor a while back that as long as I could get away with braces for my knees and wrists I would not be willing to have knee replacement surgery or surgery for tendinitis and carpal tunnel.
I decided that I wanted a puppy that I could get trained as a service dog. This caused a bit more stress and panic because I would have to come up with the money to buy a dog outright from a breeder. I had a family member give me a bit of grief about it and told me “in the future”. I then decided that I would use my business to raise money for my puppy where it wouldn’t dig into household funds and went into desperation marketing and explained what I wanted to accomplish. I put up a YouCaring page because people told me outright they would rather do that than support my business. Ouch. That YouCaring page then went practically ignored. Like I said, you learn a lot about people.
In short, it’s been a very bad few weeks. This is also why the blog has been quiet.
During this time I have come to grips with everything and stopped my downward spiral and have gotten back on track as it were. I have slowly worked on a few Pokemon appliques. I need to come up with 30 designs for this afghan and have 8 done. I also need to get a lot of squares made for it, but I just haven’t been up for stitching square after square. I think my hands would give out right now.
Someone told me that I should have done this afghan as a crochet along. This is why I didn’t do things that way. I didn’t want to commit to deadlines that I didn’t know if I could keep because of my health. And it’s such a large project. I really wanted to release a square on the average of every other day, and it started out all well and good…and then my body decided it needed to stop working properly. I knew it was going to happen one day, I just didn’t expect the process this soon.
Anyway, I have had a lot of time to do research that I didn’t do when I started this blog or selling crochet items. Originally I just wanted to make things – I really didn’t care what – and sell them. I am this weird person who just wants to make things, not because I need them or want them. I just want to make them to make them. That’s what launched my Etsy store that I have since closed in favour of my own site. It was just a place to sell all these random things that I wanted to make. There was no rhyme or reason to any of it.
If I am honest, I have to admit that I didn’t know what to search for on Google for what I needed to know about starting my own handmade business. Several years back I spent some time selling Usborne books. These are pretty awesome educational children’s books. I wasn’t all that good at it because the idea was to sell these at home parties. Think Tupperware or Pampered Chef or even Avon. I didn’t want to push home parties and make people feel they had to buy something. So many times in my life I had heard people say they went to some home party that a friend was hosting for candles or kitchen gadgets or baskets and felt that because they were there they had to buy something. I didn’t want people to feel they had to buy things out of obligation. I did most of my selling through my website and craft fair type events that would allow these kind of home based businesses.
It’s not like I went into this handmade business blindly. I just didn’t have any real direction.
All this spare time that I have had has allowed me to read a lot of things. The first being a wonderful motivational book by wrestler and rock star Chris Jericho, No is Four Letter Word: How I Failed at Spelling but Succeeded in Life (affiliate link). He uses amusing antidotes from his own life to show how he applied advice given to him, or gleaned from pop culture movies, and used them to shape his career.
Pintrest introduced me to a few resources that I would have never found on my own including the Made Urban blog. There is so much to read there. So much advice for handmade businesses. Then there is the Cupcake Trainings. I think I clicked on an advert on Pintrest. I really don’t remember. I have been reading and taking lots of notes. I have put some of the advice into practice already. I have started revamping the store portion of the site. You will find a few things on clearance that I just want to get rid of (I have one or two more items to add there). Other things have been removed all together.
I have what I think is a really cool and fun product line in the works that I am going to be launching very soon. If you want to be kept up to date on what is going on with the new product line and get some sneak peaks, be sure to sign up for the newsletter.
With the store in order and a solid plan of what I am doing with it, it’s time to get the blog back on track with all of it’s randomness, weirdness, and sometimes helpfulness.