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Sunsetting Beadwork, Avoiding "Vaporware", and Prioritizing

This is mostly a continuation of my thoughts from May this year when I spoke about the Very Real Limitations of Time.

To make a very long story short: my brother, his girlfriend, and their new puppy were meant to stay a few weeks with me and my mom and it ballooned into a few months. This set back my plans considerably for moving out of my singular room to take over his old bedroom to turn into my office. From the start of June until mid-September my life and work became very difficult for me to manage and maintain. Really nothing compared to what my brother was going through, but a big deal for me all the same.

This chunk of time, combined with the January 1st - April 15th schedule of H&R Block work, has eaten more than half of my year's plans. It feels like a do-over from 2020's interruptions for me where taxes were extended through July and at the end of the year my grandmother had to live with us for a few months. I'm trying to get things together over here, world! I feel like I've essentially lost an entire year of progress. I keep trucking forward and making plans but life keeps pushing back.

The best news of all of this, and you already know if you've been following along with my Instagram posts, is at last after over a year and a half of planning I finally have my brother's old room for my own growth. Sixteen years sitting at the same little desk is finally over and I can spread my sewing machine out on more than a wobbly TV tray that blocks out the last square foot of open path on the floor. There's even a possibility I won't have to go back in for H&R for 2022! Even last year this would've been a nightmare thought for me, to lose that secure income, but I think now it's right for me. Now I can have all that time back to work on my art instead.

Something I discovered last month, in September, was the Cortex podcast. I've never done podcasts before and I really stumbled into this one. The important takeaway for me, bringing it up here, is that they talk a lot about projects that go nowhere and knowing when to step away. I've been holding onto my bead dresses for far too long. Clung to them, even. I wanted so, so badly for them to become a successful venture. I love doing them! I love designing dresses to fit onto the existing patterns and tweaking things to be just perfect. But since I started doing them in 2009 I've sold 10. Ten of them. Five large, five pendants. And 7/10 of those were to friends and family. I've poured my heart into it and that's all there is to show for it.

It's time for me to say goodbye to bead dresses as anything more than just something I do for myself. What's up for sale currently will stay. As I finish the handful of bead projects I've left on my tray, like the Sailor Moon pendants and the winged Agitha, whatever I don't keep for myself will go up in the shop. But I'm not going to be creating anything with the express intent to sell it anymore. I hope that makes sense. If anyone wants to commission a custom piece there's a solid chance I'll work with them on it to bring it to life but that's just me trying to lean on the optimistic side of things since I love doing these so much.

"Vaporware" is something I'm trying to avoid by making this change. I couldn't really come up with a better word for physical objects, since Vaporware seems specific to technology, but I found the definition otherwise fine: "a product that is announced to the general public but is late or never actually manufactured nor officially cancelled". The beadwork had become this for me. I have talked about the Sailor Moon pendants, Agitha, the Star Trek dresses, the matching blue and green set to the dainty pink piece, a glittering rainbow series for each of the base patterns, a Rosalina to go with Peach and Daisy, and on and on. I don't know if any of these will ever come to fruition anymore because I'm drawing a hard line for myself on dropping this as a business thing. I'm "officially" cancelling all of them, but leaving them on my personal plate for free time.

This leaves me prioritizing the rest of my business which falls 90% into cross stitch patterns and with the remaining 10% between commission work and restoring vintage clothing.

With all that said, here's my goal list for the foreseeable future.

  • Series 11 (Hannah Alexander)

  • Series 12 (Hannah Alexander)

  • Series 13 (Hannah Alexander)

  • Series 14 (Hannah Alexander)

  • Genn (Frenone)

  • Varian (Frenone)

  • 32+ more Frenone patterns (a total of two card decks)

  • Sandara's Holiday Dragons

  • The last physical commission I have for 2021

  • Erte's Alphabet

  • Princess Peach freebie patterns

My personal project list remains miles long but includes things like my own Hannah Alexander Ariel and a pink recolor of Bella Filipina's Bellatrix. My fabric from Picture This Plus should arrive sometime in 2022 and then I can get the sample stitched for Aerie.

It's going to be a good year.

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