Well, here we go – full time self employment!  It’s been approximately 12 years since I’ve last had this pleasure and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then!  I’ve divorced, moved several times, remarried (just the once), had major surgery several times, changed jobs several times and completely changed what I make several times.  I loved the freedom it gave me then and am sure will relish the freedom it will give me now.

Where once was gemstone and silver jewellery, then dyed silks and velvets, now I will be concentrating on glass bead making and a little jewellery.  Where once I supplied upwards of 20 galleries (with high commission rates and tardy payments) I am now master of my own destiny and now only sell through my own outlets.

I don’t look much like I did back then either!  I’m older, wiser, fatter (that coat does me no favours) but happier.  Oh, and more focused and able to say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is required. I learned along the way that you cannot be shy and retiring to successfully run your own business; you have to see your goal and go for it, it won’t come to you.

You’ve no doubt followed my 52 in 52 challenge – did you see my article in Creative Life magazine? It’s on pages 14 and 15.  I have had several comments from readers who said they could relate to it, lovely to know I am not alone.  My picture in the magazine is one many have not seen before – so here is the whole picture, me hugging a passing cat on the gardens at RHS Rosemoor – apparently it lives nearby and comes in for the attention and with mine being pampered in our local cat hotel I had Feline Withdrawal Syndrome.  This one was a real little dribbler and totally adorable.

New for this year are my pretty stud earrings. These are made directly on to the surgical steel ear posts so nothing to fall apart – no glue is used.  These can be found in my Etsy shop and from me at fairs and are £10 a pair.  

My next fair is at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare on Easter Saturday and Sunday.  It’s on the sea front so handy for a walk along the prom – and has a cafe so handy for lunch too.  So far I am booked for fairs in Weston-s-Mare, Portishead and Clevedon.  Sadly missed will be the fairs I did in Ross-on-Wye, the prettiest journey to a venue award goes to the trip up the Wye Valley.  Not so sadly missed is the 5am start to get to Salisbury Guildhall in time to set up; sorry Salisbury, you really didn’t make the early start and 180 mile round trip too tempting to miss.

Amongst my challenges for the next few months will be, in no particular order, sorting out my website – sorry, it’s not something I find easy to master so fell by the wayside as did a lot of things over the past few months. I’m also changing merchant account providers (they who sort me for taking credit card payments) so need to get to grips with using a tablet – I thought they were things you took for a headache until a few weeks ago, but now I find I have a mobile computer in my bag!  I suspect I’ll still need the other tablets when this tablet gives me a headache, I’m not good with technology.  Fortunately I have a Man Who Can.  No, not my husband, he’s the Man Who Can’t when it comes to technology so is quite happy I have other men in my life to fix the angst-ridden screams of ‘why doesn’t this thing work?’ 

Then my office could do with a sort and tidy.  Whilst I perfected the art of organised chaos many years ago, it’s currently not even up to my ‘standard’; nothing a quick blitz can’t sort, it’s just getting A Round uit.  And beads – I need more beads for my stock box after the plot-lost period of the last 3 months.  I’ve made a few new focal beads, above, now I just need to make some more smaller beads as well to be back on target.  This style is number 10 in my 52 in 52 – you can keep up with my travels to 52 on my Flickr photostream.  

I’ve already made the decision to discontinue making my silk and velvet scarves for the foreseeable future, there are a few left in my Etsy shop at discounted prices – maybe they will return one day, when I think I have the right market for them.  I love making them so will miss those sunny days in the summer, prime scarf dyeing and drying days, when I pull a scarf  from the dye pot and realise I forgot to put my Marigolds on first!  My silk scarf dye kits will also be discontinued once stocks run out, so if you are looking for a really unusual gift for someone (or yourself!) why not try one of these, they are great fun and no previous experience required.

Also missing from this year’s stock will be sea glass cufflinks, sea glass bottle openers and sea glass bottle stoppers – apparently real men remove crown caps with their teeth or the edge of a table and most wine bottles now have screw caps and ‘one rarely leaves wine in a bottle so why would one need a bottle stopper?’  One won’t make them then.

Squeezed in amongst all these things, I also intend to take some time out to tame my garden, catch up with friends, as well as indulge my love of coffee and cake!

But there will be new things, apart from the stud earrings, I’m just working out what.  The ‘what’ will largely depend on what people want to buy and whether my markets are the right places for these.

Watch this space!