I fell into this world of quilting, literally tripped and ended up here. Not for one minute did I think anything would ever come of it, that I'd be anything more than a hobbyist and a stay at home mama looking after the house and the kids. That's always been my job, and it will always be my job. Anything else has had to fit in around Monkey Towers and the obligations I have to my family. I've been blogging, making quilts, being part of the community for about 6 or so years now and in that time I've had some amazing experiences, met some amazing people and done things that I will always treasure.
|(this is that waterlogue app - turns photos into watercolours, it's awesome & you need it)|
Somehow, and it's not been a deliberate effort, I've absorbed ridiculous amounts of information and people have continued to find what I say interesting. I think this surprises me the most - when I get classified as a 'popular' blogger...and then the questions that arise about how do you get to become 'popular'...I don't know. I'm in no way fishing for compliments here, and I don't have a secret. I don't court popularity, I don't even like to use that term, it makes me uncomfortable. You can't make people like you, you can't pretend to be something you're not and get followers. I am who I am and what you see is what you get - I try to teach my kids that treating others in the way you wish to be treated is the best way to get through life. Be nice, work hard - whatever that work is, even if it's just doing the housework, do it to the best of your ability. So that's what I try to do within the community, because sometimes my voice can be louder than someone else's and if I can help someone out I'll do that.
But I'm not perfect and I make mistakes. I am lousy at returning emails, and I'm forgetful. But I do my best.
Last year was hellish for my family in all kinds of ways. I shared a little on my blog, but not all of it, because some things are private and I want here to be somewhere that I can go to escape to some extent. I thought long and hard about packing all of this in and just walking away but that wouldn't have made me happy. So I've taken on less obligations, I've said no to a ton of things that I would normally have done but didn't really want to and my new year's resolution was to continue doing just that.
And then I got an email, which at first I ignored (don't tell my new boss) because I thought it'd be one of those 'will you make a quilt for a magazine' emails and I was up to my eyeballs in obligated sewing and figured I could do with taking on less.
But then I replied, because it's rude not to and I was a little intrigued.
The email turned into a phone call and went something along the lines of 'we're launching a new magazine and wondered if you'd be interested in working for us?' At this point I'm still thinking this involves sewing from my house, maybe writing a column, something like that. The phone call goes on... I'm already really liking the person I'm talking to because
A; he's Northern and I like Northerners. I married one, I gave birth to 2
B; he's funny, and
C; he hasn't got a clue about sewing or quilts and is being completely honest about this.
Would I go for a meeting and chat a bit more about it all?
Yes I would.
And so I did.
The meeting was actually an interview with 3 strange men staring at me. I was not overly prepared, I'll be honest, I winged it. They asked me questions, I answered them to the best of my ability and with honesty. I wasn't nervous because at no point did I think they'd actually offer me a job (they already mentioned I wasn't the only person they were speaking to). It was a nice trip out, and when you spend all day at home it's a treat to get out and see real people every now and then.
They said thank you very much, asked if I had any questions (I remembered from school that it's always good to ask questions at the end of an interview, I have no idea what I asked except I did think it'd be a good idea to ask about salary...I've been paid in fabric and pats on the back for a long time, I know how this industry works). I tried very hard not to look shocked and excited at the idea of real money being exchanged for my work (I think I pulled it off by looking serious and frowning a bit)
And then I went home.
A week later I got another phone call from that funny Northern man (he's the MD of the company, much younger and far funnier than how I'd expect a company MD to be) offering me the job. I squealed at this point and I remember saying 'reallllllly?' because I wasn't sure I'd heard him right.
And there we have it. I start Monday. For 3 days of each week I'll be at my desk in the Practical Publishing offices just outside of Manchester (my family still come first, I couldn't commit to 5 days, I have quilt monkey, a getting better but still sickly husbeast, and 2 kids that need me. I'm squeezing 5 days work into 3...that's going to be intense. Possibly insane)
So the moral of this tale is this - work hard and be nice. Absorb all of the information, be friendly, be interested in the industry we're part of, go to the shows, talk to all of the people all of the time, engage on social media, love what you do and do it with love (cheesy I know, but hey - it's true), be gracious, be humble and don't be whiny or bitter. It's not attractive, ever. And, most importantly, don't give up. Because just at that point when you think you might, because you're working your ass off and you have to check how much money is available in your bank every time you do a grocery shop, and calculate exactly how much you're spending as you put things in the cart because you can't go over the set budget, that's when you might get a breakthrough. It might not be a huge breakthrough, but it'll be something and once you have that something to boost your confidence, you can soar.
Please bear with me because I might go a bit quiet over the next few weeks as I settle in. I haven't had an office job since...ummm...ever, so I know it's going to be a case of juggling home stuff and making sure the kids and the husbeast have food and clean clothes and we all get into our new routine (with the assistance of my new chore chart stuck onto the fridge door). And I'll have a commute of just over an hour each way (that's without rush hour traffic...it's likely to be much longer) so I need to get used to that too. I may be slightly zombie like for a little while, but it's well worth it.
And, yes, I am looking for commissions for projects - quilts, home decor, sewn garments, accessories and everything else. ALL OF THE THINGS!!! You know where to find me. Email me! ImAGingerMonkey@gmail.com and keep a look out for Love Sewing coming in April.
(I sprinkled this post with photos of quilts. Because it looked a bit boring without them)
(and finally - this would never have happened if it hadn't been for Fiona at Sizzix, who I now owe big time. Fiona - you're absolutely brilliant)