Friday, October 7, 2016

Long time.. what's going on..

Hey there my dear readers!  I wrote a two-part guest post at Weecos blog, about my simplicity journey, and you can read it here if you want to -
Part one
Part two

Though I didn't really like the added stock photo of a messy table with things to get rid of.. because I would have liked all of the photos to have been mine (it's not like I didn't have any messy photos..) this one just sticks out, but oh well..

Life is rolling along, I was really busy in July filling orders, and in August preparing for the Design Market. After that was over, it's been nice to have time to work on my print patterns, sew things just for fun -like things for Indi and myself, and gifts. And just take it easy for a while. As you can see, the autumn is here, the wool sock season began weeks ago for me!

I got rid of some excess furniture after re-doing my work space. One huge desk, three arm chairs, one drawer thing, one antique coffee table (that was always going to my sister's house, but it just got stuck at our place) and one low side table are gone.  The low side table and  flowery arm chair never quite found their place so they were given to friends. When we moved here, I really wanted to make this place a cozy home for us, and I also used decorating as a distraction, I think. But all the things I got were vintage, not new stuff, and I also gave away and sold what I didn't want after all /anymore so it didn't stay at our home or storage for long. I'm keeping the drawing table with the top that can be lifted up, as I'be been drawing on large papers and it's definitely useful. And there is a corner in our living room where it fits nicely.

Also having, well, a few cats, made me realize that I really don't want fabric upholstered furniture anymore. Leather is much easier, so those are the ones that we kept. My husband has asthma and I think he was relieved when I wanted to get rid of the fabric covered furniture.

We painted one wall in my studio with magnetic paint (only a part of it, as it's really expensive and you need a thick layer for the magnets to actually stick!) and chalkboard paint. So I can put up stuff easily and take it away easily too. I like that. The old picture wall above my desk in the studio started to feel stuffy, and of course there were a bunch of nails, and they are never at the right spot if you want to put up something different.  I also like to put up To Do-lists, and things that are not meant to stay for long.

So, that's mostly it - normal life, and I like that the best! Indi has school for four hours a day and no afternoon activity, so she is with me quite much. Her friends come over to play with our cats and sew. She has one friend with whom she goes to sing in a church choir and that's her only hobby outside of home at the moment. Well, she does go pokémon hunting with her dad, and cousins sometimes. :)
I work, some designing and pattern making, some sewing, print design, packaging and shipping orders, things like that. The best part is designing.. but I would not like to do it under pressure. I'm happy with the amount of work at the moment, as I have my limits both time- and health-wise.

I'm still amazed at the work God has done and is doing in our lives and in our hearts. I trust Him with our future too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Simple Hair -and my new short cut

I got a sudden urge to cut my hair short. It started irritating me, hanging down my neck. This is not the first time I've cut my own hair - I mostly cut it myself and have done so for 20 years! I  have a hairstylist friend who is a great cutter, but when I was younger I had a few disasters where the hairstylist and I had a totally different understanding of what I wanted :) So I started to cut my own hair, and it's so much fun!

When I let my hair grow long I rarely trimmed it. But keeping short hair requires more frequent trims /cuts. The only reason I was ever able to keep my hair long, was that it doesn't get greasy fast (I needed to wash about every three or four days or my scalp would act up). Washing long, thick hair felt like a nuisance. When it was waist length, I was also constantly having to move it out of the way. I don't like to wear my hair up (my scalp gets sore), so it was all over the place.

Well, for the past year I had shoulder length or slightly shorter hair and it was so much easier, but now I just wanted it even shorter. I actually cut it a little bit more after these pictures were taken, but no new photos of it yet.
My hair has been completely dye free for some time now, and that is one major aspect of having simple hair. I hated having roots and my natural hair color looking drab next to the dyed part. I hated growing out the dye. I hated having to dye if I didn't want to grow it out and deal with two-toned hair. I'm so glad it's gone and my hair has been natural for some time now.

For me short hair has always been the simplest and easiest. I can wash it however often I feel like it, it dries fast and using conditioner is not an absolute must. I'm a wash-and-go type, I don't own a hair dryer or styling products.

People have different opinions of what is the most simple hair style. Some people feel like having short hair means lots of trips to a hair salon and thus money spent, and lots of styling products and time spent styling it and thus is more high maintenance. It probably is so for some people. I need a pair of sharp scissors and a bottle of shampoo for my short hair, so for me it's simpler. Again, this is something that differs from one person to another, there is no fast rule to tell you what is the simplest hair style to have! And if someone enjoys fussing with their hair a lot, be it blow drying or braiding or whatever, then that is alright too! There was a time when I was growing my hair and taking care of it was more like a hobby. It was fun at the time. That was before I had a child :D

I like that this summer I can go for a swim without having a long, wet blob of hair wetting my clothes afterwards. I can go to sauna at my dad's house and not get the car seat wet when driving back home! I don't need to think about remembering to take my heavy moisturizing conditioners with me if I'm going to sauna or swimming hall (or have dry frizzy hair afterwards). I don't have to remember to keep my hair from getting caught between the car door, or from strands swimming in my salad dressing!

With long hair I avoid getting my hair wet, with short hair I don't care :)
I'm ready for summer with my summer hair.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Learning to run a home-based small indie business -simply.


First of all, I'm not going to turn this into a sewing blog or an entrepreneur blog. I'm not going to use this blog to sell things. So I started a new blog for my indie business at my website. I'm going to write and post pictures there about the life and inspiration behind HELLIN, post about new clothes, sales, events and things like that. So this blog will stay all about simple, slow and meaningful living, in all it's aspects. Sometimes the topics and pictures may cross over, as my life is one whole, and not clearly separated into sections!
You can make requests for topics, and if I feel like I can write about it, I will do so :) Simple food, simple clothes, simple home, simple child-raising, simple entrepreneurship - ah yes, that's a topic for my current post ;)

At first sight running a business sounds everything but simple. On the other hand, being "self-employed" has been on the wish list of many simple living/minimalism  advocates for years.

How about making STUFF and SELLING it, how is that simple?

People running a business are efficient, energetic, well organized, driven, ambitious, focused, goal setter go-getters. Right?
Yet, I'm none of those things.
Ambition can be a good thing. Goal setting can be great for some people, the go-getters. For me, setting goals is trouble, as it will only make me discouraged. I get tired of just thinking about "what to accomplish in 5 years".
What works for me is concentrating on NOW - the moment and day at hand. Perhaps the week ahead.
There may be an event a few weeks or months ahead, that I have to prepare for.

Right now this means that today I will sew a tunic that was ordered yesterday, if I don't have that size ready (which I think I don't but will check first). I will probably do a little bit more of organizing in my studio, as I gave away the antique architect's cabinet. It was not used enough to deserve it's place here, and it was way too big for a decorative element, as gorgeous as it was.

That's my immediate to-do list. Then there's getting the new blog started. This is something that I will do when I have time and feel like it.
Yesterday I wrote the English version of my website and published it.
On my long-term to-do list is making clothes and designing new ones, mainly for a huge Design Market event that is part of a Helsinki Design Week and draws about 25 000 visitors. That's in early September, so there is my summer job! In addition to being with Indi, that is.

Meanwhile I try to make something new for my shops now as well, and I ordered postcards from some of my photos, to sell and to put in orders as gifts.

But now, today, it's just One Tunic.

It has helped me to hear facts from more experienced people, who started a clothing company from scratch. They tell me it realistically takes 3-5 years to actually start making money. That much time and work, and no certainty! Before I would have just given up easily, given up because nobody could tell me what would happen. Will it take off or fall flat? Now, I don't think about it. I do what I can and should do today. There's always tons of work to do if you are an entrepreneur, the work is endless and I have to set the limits. MY limits, what I'm comfortable with. Nobody else can tell me how much time I should put into it, or how high I should aim.

Usually businesses aim to grow big. Bigger also means more responsibilities, more work, more organizational skills needed, more stress, more things needing urgent attention. More problems to solve.
Big is not my goal at all. If I had to say something, as obviously I am hoping to make more money with this than what I'm spending on it, I would say that approximately one sale per day would be fantastic. That would be 365 pieces of clothing sold in a year. Some of it may be wholesale orders, a lot of it may be sold in an event during a couple of days, and some months I may get an order once or twice a week. A 1000 pieces would probably be my upper limit, depending on what kind of items the number would consist of. If it was mostly scarves and beanies, I could do more than that, but if it was dresses, leggings and jackets, it might be too much.

I expect this first year to be a major learning process. I expect to make mistakes - and I doubt it will stop after the first year, but at least I will learn something new all the time.

So this is my super simple One Day At A Time -Business Model haha!!!

So, how does a simple living advocate decide to sell things, and actual real objects, not just e-books or other non-physical things?

This is something I have thought about a lot. Making things has always been part of who I am. I sewed my first soft toy, a pig I designed myself after I was inspired by a pig in a children's book, when I was four years old. With my mom. I enjoy making things with my hands, creating visible, tangible things. Things to see or touch or both.
Someone may object to making clothes because we have a lot of second hand clothes available. Isn't the world flooded with clothes already? Yet we don't have that many truly ecological and ethical brands. There are some, but they don't fit everyone's tastes and lifestyles.

I think a mix of second hand shopping and buying new things from ethical brands is a great combination. I tend to buy shoes and jeans and some outerwear secondhand. I have bought some underwear from an indie business (but plan to also make my own). I have some clothes from a Finnish company, most of it bought second hand, but I also already re-sold  a lot of it, because I tend to grab my own designs to wear these days. And I should like them best, shouldn't I? There are some things I don't make myself, like most knitwear, so those are bought from others.

I figured the world can deal with more ethical indie brands, those are not the problem! People need to work. People still need things, like new clothes from time to time.
Hey, in the Bible Paul made and sold tents, and Lydia sold fancy purple dyed fabrics! If being a maker and seller of THINGS was not below them, it certainly is not below me!

As images of God, we are creative beings. Not all of us want to create physical things or visual things. But I do. So I do it, but I don't stress about it. It will succeed if I give it my best, what I can at the given moment considering my health and time limitations, if the Lord wills so. I don't have to worry about it.

Maybe some day I will write a book or start a counseling business for closet organizing or home and life de-cluttering, who knows :)
Maybe I will just keep that here in my blog as a hobby.

At the moment I have some health issues going on again. It could be a bad case of allergies or a Epstein-Barr reactivation. I went to the doctor once and they gave me antibiotics because my throat and glands are so swollen, but the strep test was negative (which I was almost certain it would be, because this looks and feels different from strep) so I will have to the doctor again.

Good practice for taking it easy and slowly, as my body will set the limits. If I have to sleep, I will sleep. That web page or new design can wait. Those leggings I'm making for Indi can wait. The T-shirts for my husband can wait (except I promised Indi that she can draw on them with fabric markers and she keeps asking about it). This and that, can wait.

One day, one order. That's all I ask of myself today, and all the other stuff I may get done is just a bonus.
The sun shines, and my windows are freshly washed.
God is Good.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Life right now

I decided to just post some pictures today and tell some random stuff about what has been going on. I guess the pictures sum it up: cats, food, making clothes. Well, there is a lot of My Little Ponies -watching, and working on my computer, and taking photos.. There are friends over, Indi and her friend making cat clothes (they have a shop and the proceeds will go to buying a kitten for Indi's friend, they say. Their only customers so far are Valo and Savi, who only have to pay 5 cents for the clothes, out of their donations jar.. :D )

I'm still as lazy cook as ever, but I find I bake more in the bigger kitchen. And since I often take care of the food for Sunday church meeting, it's a good initiative to bake. I've made, lemon pie, blueberry pie, mint chocolate meringue cake, and for salty baked stuff a smoked reindeer, leek and goat cheese quiche with lingonberries.. Hmm, it seems I make more sweet stuff :D

Yesterday I made a super easy pizza and we had iced smoothie sticks (smoothie-cicles?) that I made from left over smoothie. My husband was on a conference trip and I made too much even though I tried to make it for just Indi and me..
She eats too much sweets and I still try to get in healthy stuff in there too. Today I made banana pancakes for lunch. Okay, now I'm sounding like I spend a lot of time in the kitchen whipping up awesome food, which I really don't. And after Indi goes to bed we watch a movie and eat chips and candy, so I'm not really all that healthy eater! :D

There is a local organic food group that I just ordered from for the first time. Several small producers offer their food stuff straight to the groups and we cut the middle hand and get fresh organic eggs, fish and all kinds of stuff from there.

I eat gluten free and Indi has milk protein allergy so that affects our grocery shopping and cooking and baking. When I bake I usually always make it gluten free and dairy free, but sometimes only lactose free if I know for sure Indi isn't going to eat it anyway. Like that quiche with leek..

The news cat-wise is hidden in the pictures! Somehow one thing led to another, and we are having a third cat - well a foster girl who is going to have kittens, and after that she will become ours. Her name is Cupcake but she is called Namu (which means candy, or sweet). She is the owner of the aquamarine eyes and golden stripy fur.

Indi is being a good model for me, and she wants to be paid in chocolate or candy. She doesn't want money, so that is what I pay her with.

I would love to design my own fabrics, I may do a small test run.. (The prints in the clothes here are not my own but by other Finnish designers: Outi Santaniemi and Leena Renko and Nosh Organics -ETA: I have designed and made the clothes, just not the fabrics :D )
I also want to continue making solid colored things that are easy to combine. I changed my official website to a Finnish domain and put a web shop there too. But there are more things in Etsy, and Etsy is having a remodel so I've been working on my own website and looking into the new Etsy as well.

I've started to wear mostly my own brand and plan to make Indi's clothes from now on as well. She still only wants to wear leggings and jersey tops and tunics anyway so that's perfect since that's what I'm making!

I don't know if this thing will take flight or not. I'm not stressing about it. I'm giving it my best shot without letting it consume my whole life, and if it ends up being just an expensive hobby, then so be it!
There's a reason to celebrate too, the divorce that was filed for a year ago was now aborted since it was not confirmed in six months' time after the first six month consideration period.

After last year, I'm quite happy with the way things are right now. Things looked compeletely impossible for a while there, then better, then even worse, then terrible... until better again.  It has truly been a testing time for me.

But how amazing is my Lord and God, who truly lives since eternity and into eternity, whom saves my soul and comforts me in spirit and works all things for His glory in the end!

Happy Passover, dear readers <3 p="">
(Painting: Green Beginnings)