Fair’s fair

August 30, 2011

ANA Crafts attended its first ever craft fair this weekend. Suffice to say, I won’t be retiring on the proceeds just yet but I did more than break even which was better than I expected for my first attempt. I also received handfuls of positive comments which made me feel all happy and smiley. I learned so much over the course of the weekend, my stall went from being an obviously amateur effort, to looking like I may have had a vague idea of what I was doing. The bit I found most difficult was actually communicating with people and pushing my wares. I am shy and hate communicating with people in case they judge me and as for making eye contact… On day one I refused to look at anyone and refused to talk even when questioned. By the end of day 3, while I wasn’t exactly effusive, I could at least look at people and tell them about some of the stories and history behind my stuff. A few people even asked for my business card which was flattering and has convinced me I really need to get the website up and running. I’m currently searching and applying for fair numero deux!

As for university, I’ve spent a lot of time and effort considering my options. I am currently going to give it a shot. I even feel a little bit excited about the idea! I don’t know how it will turn out or even if it’s a good idea but I put a lot of effort into the application and moved halfway across the country for the opportunity so I’d better at least try. I’m currently going through the application process for DSA which is something I’ve never felt able to do before. I hope the support it provides will make things slightly easier for me but I do feel guilty for applying like I don’t really deserve it. I know I’m going to have to be careful and just take it slow while monitoring my mood exceptionally carefully. Nothing is worth descending to the state I was in 18 months ago and I’d want to catch things long before that.

I’d describe myself at the moment as cautiously optimistic. I have a craft business that I may make a go of yet and the chance to start learning for a good career. Hopefully things continue to move forward positively from here.



August 6, 2011

I have a place to read pharmacy at university in just over a month. I really wish I wasn’t. I wish I’d stuck to my original plan of taking a full year out and reconsidering my position in 2012 instead of being carried away on a high of extreme enthusiasm without thinking how it would make me feel in the long term. I am more content with my life at the moment than I’ve been in years. I have plans to start a business in a field I love where I can work the hours I feel capable of as and when I feel ready to take it on. I’m terrified university would be a massive step backwards. I don’t feel ready to go back to doing full time proper work. I don’t want anything to interrupt my stability. I know at the moment I’m living in a dream world but if it’s making me happy,selfishly it seems a shame to interrupt that.

However, I’m under a lot of pressure to take up the place. My boyfriend has bought a house and moved half way across the country, away from his family to enable me to do it. If it wasn’t for my university place, we would both probably have chosen to remain closer to our families and the area we are familiar with. A few months ago, when I first started getting doubts, I tried to discuss it with him. By that point we’d already bought the house and were in the middle of a high stress, hard work renovation. He shouted at me. I haven’t dared raise it with him since.

My parents claim to be happy with whatever I choose. I get the impression that doesn’t extend to crafting as a lifestyle choice. They want me to use my alleged intelligence and have a ‘proper’ job. It was subtle pressure from my dad that persuaded me to accelerate my plans a year in the first place. After the boyfriend shouted at me, I phoned them and cried about how unhappy I was with my decisions and how little I wanted to go to uni. They basically ignored it and have carefully avoided the topic ever since. I attempted to raise it again the other day. The first thing my mum said was “you might as well try it”, before I had the chance to raise any of my views. It’s clear what they want and the misguided desire to make my parents happy is what has led me to make a lot of bad choices in the past.

My ideal plan would be to defer my place a year. That would give me the opportunity to properly focus on my crafting and to see if I can make a go of it. If that didn’t work out, I could get some relevant work experience to prepare me better for returning to academia. I could use the extra year to really focus on me. Up until recently I’ve been fighting incredibly hard just to prevent me from moving backwards, maybe with time I could redirect than energy to moving forward. Get fit, get balanced, maybe even get some therapy to address my major issues. Seems the ideal solution, it would hopefully placate those I am under pressure from and give me more time.

However, nothings that simple. I don’t know if the university would let me defer for a year for a start. It requires a lot of good will and faith in me from them. Even if they would, there’s still a major barrier in my way. If I start this year, I will have to pay fees of approximately £3500 a year. It’s a lot of money but I’ve been really frugal for the last few years (being too depressed to eat or leave the house is at least kind on the wallet) and could afford to begin. If I start next year it will cost me £9000 pounds a year due to the new fee structure and I wouldn’t be entitled to a student loan to cover it as I’ve already had one. There’s no way I could afford that or justify that sort of expense to anyone else.

I’m stuck. Either I do something I don’t  want to do or I disappoint and alienate a lot of people. Maybe that’s what real life is, doing stuff you don’t want to for the sake of others. Sucks.



August 4, 2011

Just when I think I’m doing so well, something always throws itself in my path to dislodge me. I wondered into the kitchen the other day and found the boyfriend reorganising the kitchen cupboards. Nothing major, just putting the mugs into a smaller cupboard and the glasses into the bigger one. Rationally, quite sensible, we have more glasses than mugs and I don’t drink tea or coffee anyway.

However, I do NOT like change. Any change. I have my little routine and I stick to it, I don’t like anything coming in its way. Apparently even this little thing was enough to send me into a shouting, screaming rant. It could not be changed. Boyfriend was equally determined it would be and shouted back. We yelled at each other for a little bit and he made it clear he was having it his way. Eventually I dissolved into floods of tears. The mugs were stacked to fit in. For some reason, in my head, the mugs could not be stacked. It was the worst thing in the universe to have stacked mugs. What would our guests think (not that we ever have any guests you understand, but if we did)?

I tried to explain this. It was impssible to get him to understand (quite possibly because it didn’t actually make any sense). Things have to be right in my head. If they vary from that even slightly it causes me to become a complete mess.  How can I ever hope to be a normal, functioning human being if something as insignificant as stacked mugs leads to hours of meltdown?


August 2, 2011

I have been playing with my new photo tent in an attempt to take some pics of my stuff. I’m aiming to get a website up and running but that could take some time given my general level of computer illiterance. I need to work out how to light my tent properly though as all of the fabric photos are too dark. I’m tempted to shine my light box through it as that’s meant to mimic daylight but I can’t find the plug adaptor to it plus it would only light one side.

Anyway, the few jewellery photos came out a bit better so I thought I’d share.

Turquoise and pearl collection:

Up close details of the braccelet:

And the necklace:

Finally the earrings:

This set is made if bowenite:

There is so much more to photograph and I really need to improve my skills to get it right. Anyone happen to be an expert photographer and fancy giving me some tips? I have a digital SLR so should be capable of taking fantabulous pictures but unfortunately no matter how much I enjoy photography, I’ve never been much good at it.

Hope you like them 🙂


August 1, 2011

This blog, and at the time the associated URL, were a very geeky valentines day present from my ex-boyfriend. I’d been talking about wanting to blog so he set it all up for me. That was way back in 2007 and since then I haven’t changed a thing about it. I’ve found moving on from the end of that relationship next to impossible to do but I think changing this would be a start. The name of the blog was an amalgamation of our names, the way we were collectively referred to so every time I see it mentioned, it’s a painful reminder of what was.

Conversely though, this is my online persona and I don’t want to lose the, albeit small, following I have. Also, I have no idea what to reinvent myself as. I’ve never really had any nicknames and I’m rubbish at coming up with witty monikers for myself. One possibility is that I amalgamate all this with my fledgling craft business, becoming AnA Craft, and working from there. I quite like this idea. My mental health is related on so many levels to my crafting. It’s what has helped to keep me safe through some of the rockiest patches of my life and now I seem to be recovering somewhat, is where my passion lies.

However, I have no idea how to go about changing things or even if I’m ready for it. It seems such a big moving on step when parts of me are still clinging so desperately to the past. I don’t want to put people off reading by changing from posting primarily craziness posts to sharing pictures of my crafting and tales of what I’m up to there. It also means I will lose any veneer of anonymity I had. I’ve never been much good at keeping anonymous anyway. A lot of my real life friends know and read this blog even though they don’t always comment. I’ve also added a lot of other bloggers to Facebook using my real identity so I suppose I wouldn’t be losing that much. The only risk would be my family finding this. It’s my place to rant and to chat and I want that private from them, even if it’s not private from the rest of the world.

It seems from a brief scan of wordpress that it is possible to change the blog address so I wouldn’t lose my archives which is important to me and I think I could keep this domain pointing at the new one so people wouldn’t have to change their links or anything. [Incidentally, I find it odd that the wordpress spell checker doesn’t recoginse the word wordpress :S] It seems a huge step somehow even if all it is is renaming a piece of the internet. A step towards the future perhaps.