Category Archives: Honest Handmade Business Crap

Friday is Cleaning, Catch up and Planning Day

I once read an article about things you should do on Friday that will increase your productivity.  I’ve been feeling pretty unproductive since about late January so I’ve turned Friday into my cleaning, catch up and planning day.  It’s cleaning day as I usually work on weekends (which is always a good time to clean) but I still need a day designated to doing some cleaning.  The house is pretty tidy anyway so this is usually a few bits and pieces. My catch up is generally just trying to get some jobs finished that I’ve been working on during the week.  Having a designated catch up day is the part of this day I really like.  Start nothing new on Friday and just catch up on everything that needs catching up on.  Finish those teeth and uterus (they’ve been in my sewing box for weeks!).

The planning…groan…this is where I fall down.  I just struggle getting things together at the moment.  I sit down with my planner and cannot think.  I can easily jot down the things I do every week but struggle trying to come up with something that will keep me moving forward.

I love my journal, below. I do Bullet Journalling and find this is a system that works very well for me.  I can combine all of my work and personal life into one notebook (I use different colours for different work) and  jot down notes etc.  A bullet journal allows you to allocate the space you want to the content you need.

Well, it is friday so I better get back to it.  I need to tidy up the couch, and shrink some stuff.


I love this journal.  It’s A Novel Journal.

Oh, hello 2017, when did you get here?

I read something a little while ago that suggested different reasons why we feel time pass faster as we get older.  The one that stuck with me (well, the one I remember) was that the percentage of your life that passes in a year becomes smaller and smaller. Therefore when you are between the ages 4 and 5 that year is 20% of your life so far, making it seem like such a long time, whereas when you are 35, like me, it’s only 2.85% of your life so it goes much faster.  I think it’s probably more so that when you are an adult you are always so busy doing all of the things, all at once sometimes, that time flies.  When you’re a kid you’re looking forward to and counting down to everything; birthday, christmas, school holidays, moving house.  I’m sure adults agree that when they are counting down to something they really want (or something they really want to be over) that time moves much slower.

And now it’s 2017, oh my! And the 12th January already, how did that happen?! I already feel like I’m wasting my time.

I’ve been doing some planning with the aid of a mind map.  The mind map is a great tool to clarify your goals and I’ve got it on my clip board that is filled with paper of sketches and notes to keep looking at it.  In this house any paper that is printed on one side goes into a drawer or a folder to reuse.  Most of my anatomy patterns have something printed on the other side, whether we printed it or it’s junk mail. But let’s not get side tracked.

Search mind map on pinterest (there I already did it for you) to find more info on the technique.

It’s pretty weird for me to think about having goals as even 5 years ago I was like goals, fuck off, that kinda thing is for losers (like me, actually) but in the last few years and particularly the last year I’ve really found that using techniques like goal setting are helpful to keep propelling me forward.  Oh, and I have motivational quotes on my wall, can you believe that!?  As an adult I think it is so easy to just get lost in the motions of everyday that you forget to pursue the things you want to do and are passionate about. You forget to stand up or be present for the things that matter to you.  Goals, motivational posters, all that kinda annoying stuff that other people do that used to annoy me – I’m now that person and it’s bloody working, so I’ll just keep being a goal setting, motivational poster put’er upper.

One of my favourite motivational quotes at the moment is this one “If you commit to nothing you’ll be distracted by everything.”  It comes from here.  I think this is the most completely solid piece of truth I’ve ever read so to try not be distracted by everything this year I chose 3 words to repeat to myself..  Those words are Focus, Learn, Do.  I wanted something a bit more fancy that “do” but it’ll do (ha ha).  Focus has really become something of a mantra for me already. It’s a great little word to get yourself into the zone.

But anyways, here we are in 2017.  So, tell me about your focus for this year?


Here is a Uterus, just because.


Pituitary Gland

This Pituitary Gland in a jar has been in and out of my Etsy store for quite some time.  Years ago it was in there with the original photos and just hung around, and then it was out of my store for a while waiting to have new photos taken and lazy me never did. I’ve only ever sold one.

I remember making the Pituitary because I got a “convo” (the Etsy speak for a message within Etsy) asking me to make one.  In the early days I would make anything and everything people suggest without taking an order or getting them to pay as it was a great way to get ideas for new pieces.  (This is also why a thymus is sitting my shop.)

What I love about the way  I have made the pituitary is the red and blue threads.  I’ve almost always used the same shades of blue and red, I’d sometimes pick up a different shade but also return to my same favourite DMC colours.

Anyhooters, after finding this guy again I’ve also decided to make a brooch.  I find myself getting back into making and experimenting with anatomy again after going on a bit of a journey off my path.  Not that taking a detour here and there isn’t useful!


The photography struggle is real

Ugh!  Taking product photos.  It’s one of the biggest challenges of selling online.  Each improvement in photos means I want even more improvement next time and then when it’s not working out, well that stinks!

I’d been taking really terrible photos for a while.  The colours were off and the products were not clear.  See, I’d been sitting somewhere slightly different and didn’t even realise this was the problem until one night just before I went to sleep (and was lamenting my terrible shots and how I might fix them) it came to me, I’d been in the wrong spot!  Phew, I’ve changed back to the old spot.  The pics still aren’t perfect but I’m working on it!



Photos make me crazy!

There are certain times during the year that taking good pictures just doesn’t work.  I usually find the in between seasons, autumn and spring, to have certain months where images look terrible.  That is happening right now!  I cannot get the colours right and photos often are not good enough to use.  One of the huge frustrations of selling things online is that you need to have good photos and it can start to get so painful when they don’t work out for you for stretches at time.

I use image editing software and although it helps sometimes the photo just won’t get to what I want it to look like.  The Teratoma below just looks awful here, what is that weird colour going on!

Try again another day.


One of the offending photos. The colour is so off.



Hands On Brisbane-Workshops

Hands On Brisbane is a workshop program based in Brisbane, Australia that aims to deliver affordable art, craft and design workshops.  We’ve just launched the Spring workshop program, including a few new workshops.

Hands On Brisbane is my “day job,” although I sometimes wonder how you choose which is the main job and which the extra.  Hands On Brisbane brings me better pay than my own business, Your Organ Grinder, but I spend more time on Your Organ Grinder, so which is which?  Well anyways, Hands On is one of the things I do.

This term I am taking 7 workshops, that includes 2 terrarium workshops and 2 screen printing ones, plus a resin workshop, shrinky dinks and polymer clay.  I’ve been teaching Terrariums for ages and probably showed over 150 people how to put together a Terrarium. My favourite workshop is definitely Shrinky Dinks, the participants get so excited about the shrinking plastic and want to make more and more.  Every time every person is thrilled with the results.

If you are in Brisbane and like to learn new skills drop by the website and check us out!



How Pinteresting!

I signed up to Pinterest quite a while ago but didn’t use it much at first.  Earlier this year during a business overhaul (when you have all this energy to do amazing things with your business which pretty soon disappears under the millions of things you have to do) I decided to try to get into it more and I have been using it pretty solidly ever since.  I enjoy the ease of Pinterest, adding things to your board with a simple click (and I really enjoy adding things to the wrong boards…cute animal in Savoury Meals and Snacks). Recipes are especially easy to save with Pinterest.

I do try to promote Your Organ Grinder on Pinterest when I think of it but often I just open it up, pin some cute animals or food ,(I follow a board based around Lemon sweets and I just love all the Lemon recipes) and get overwhelmed when someone has been pinning something with the same theme all day…

Are you a Pinterest fan?

Find me on Pinterest here.

Reporting on my planning.

I wrote this post a little while ago and wanted to report back to be accountable regarding how I went, even just to myself.  I was following a plan I read about on Asian Efficiency that I felt really made sense and already fit in with how I currently plan my days (if I plan them).  So, how did my planning go??

Great, at first, then it went to average, and then to total shit!

At first I could plan my day out really well. Then I had a few days where I wasn’t really sure what I should do, then I just stopped because a few things happened and my routine was massacred. After that it kept getting massacred and I kept having more and more trouble figuring out how to get back on the path.

I usually have a very structured day routine. I wake up early, 5am, shower and do about 30-45 minutes of work. I eat my breakfast and then exercise. After that I get into cleaning and then onto work. One of my huge problems is not knowing what work to do. I will waste time if I don’t know what I should tackle. I will also waste time if I don’t want to do a particular bit of work that day. I wouldn’t call it procrastinating, I’d be more likely to call it confusion about what other job should be a priority. Whenever this happens I need to regain focus and sometimes that doesn’t happen too easily.

In the first days I DID get a lot done and I had a list pre-made to refer to so whenever I felt a bit lost I just grabbed that list and was able to move on to a job on it. My day was set out with work times and structure that worked with my current routines. The work time spaces have a list of things to do and it was easy to mark off each thing as I finished it and be happy with the results.  I even planned in fun things to do, something I need to make more time for.

For me the planning and list making did work, what was challenging was how to maintain it when things were not working out how I planned.  I also find myself getting thrown afar, and have so much trouble getting back on the path.

I really need to start the process again. As I type this the notebook I was using is in front of me and I hope to write up a list for tomorrow. There is just one problem, I don’t know what I need to do tomorrow…

Do you follow a plan for productivity in your day?  How does it work out?  And what do you do when you get thrown off the path?


Handmade Business Crap

I’m thinking about some interesting things to share on this blog about myself and I think you might find it interesting how hopeless I am with my business.  I am always giving people good advice but I am pretty hopeless at implementing things myself.  At the start of 2014 I signed up to heaps of email newsletters by awesome handmade biz peoples.  I take notes about what I am learning and have so far implemented the part about constantly improving photos.  Since I re-shot just about every photo in my Etsy shop I have seen a change.  I have had more sales (compared to last year when things were abysmal) and have been featured on Etsy twice (don’t ask where, I cannot find them, Etsy just tells me the link is coming from within Etsy, just like in the scary movie where the call is coming from within the house, the one with the babysitter).

So, I’m figuring some of you might find this kinda info useful too.

Today I took notes from this article called How to Plan Your Perfect Day for Superhuman Productivity from Asian Efficiency.  These kids look like they are on to something!

I’m just the kinda crazy detailed planning works for so I am going to try plan my days as often I can.  I’ll report back and tell you how I go, they I have to at least try it a bit, right?  Don’t let me be no slacker!


1. Plan the night before. Plan your perfect day the night before as *you’ll have more clarity *you’ll sleep better *you wake up with a purpose.  Personally I find it hard to work and be motivated if I have no purpose, so hopefully this will help.

2. Tighten your morning ritual.  As soon as out of bed, without fail and without thinking you know what you have to do.  I get up at 5am, 6 days a week and have a shower straight away, then I sit at my desk with a cup of tea and watch a dvd and do some work  (I watch tele while I work as it helps to keep my eyes constantly looking up and stop them getting tired and damaged).  Often I am not sure what work is most useful to do so if I plan what work to do that might help, yes?

3. Determine your frog and eat it!  Your frog is the worse thing you need to do that day.  It is based on the Mark Twain quote about once you do the worst thing your day can only improve.  House cleaning, it is often going to be house cleaning.

4. Structural productivity.  Plan things you have to do such as sleep, eat, exercise, learn.  For me I need to schedule in the occasional nap (I am sleeping poorly at night due to my nose being clogged from allergies), chatting to my birds, making my chooks lunch and a half hour reading each day.

OKAY!  Lets do this!

I’me going to write things in the notebook I got myself from this etsy shop. Get my Phineas and Ferb on!