500 Monsters in 2016 update & some really BIG news

Going into this year, I knew Lu & Ed would be my sole source of income, and that I would have to increase production & sales greatly in order to make ends meet. At the beginning of the year I set a goal to beat last year’s monster production (just over 350 monsters) & exceed it by at least an additional 150 products – for a total of 500 monsters made in 2016.

And guess what?! I just made more monster making history: my 300th monster this year! Shooting right along towards the big 5-0-0!

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The 300th monster of 2016!

While this is a super exciting milestone to hit, I have an even bigger, much more exciting announcement to make – the reason why I’m hustling so hard to meet this goal early!

And that is that I’ll be a mama again in a few short months!

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Whoa, right? I know people will have questions, so here’s the short & skinny version: Several months after I moved, I reconciled with my son’s bio dad. It’s been amazing for me & G, and we are so super happy! The timing of it all and how things just rolled together is so serendipitous, I can’t even begin to explain it. And apparently this is just how things were meant to be, because now there’s a beautiful babe on her way this fall, and we are all so happy together!

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I won’t lie though, it took a really long time for it to sink in that I had gotten pregnant. Gauge is ELEVEN almost & I never thought I would have another baby. I have chronic ovarian issues, and had been told the odds of me conceiving again were much slimmer than that of a healthy woman with normal hormone production & no ovarian issues. But somehow, this little miracle happened, against all the odds. And it’s only just now sinking in that in just 3.5 months (or sooner, depending on when the babe is ready to make her debut) I’ll be a mother to a newborn again, for the first time in eleven years. Which makes me stupidly excited!

But it’s, like, really starting to really sink in that in a few months, I’ll be the mother to a newborn again. And that my goals for Lu & Ed this year, and next, needed to shift drastically. So I did some evaluations, and while it will be tight, I think I can still make my 500 monsters in 2016 goal – if I make 90% of the rest of the monsters before mid-October, when the baby is due. No big deal, right? (Seriously though, send me all the productive vibes!) If I can meet my production goals, I’d be able to take almost the entire last quarter of the year off post-babe from sewing monsters & soak up those weeks with my own new little monster.

So, I decided I’m still going to push to meet my production goal for this year. As far as next year, the unofficial goal (I don’t like to set goals in stone until the end of the year, but this was sort of a must-do thing) was to move into a bigger place with a 3rd bedroom I could use as a studio. Currently, we are living in a tiny little MAYBE 700 SF home with two tiny bedrooms and one closet in the entire house. (Seriously, it’s so little you have to turn sideways to walk by the sink to get to the toilet, and we have less than 24″ of counter space in the kitchen). But if we do upgrade to a home with a third bedroom, I wouldn’t be able to dedicate that to my studio space for long with babe needing her own space eventually. So now I am considering other alternatives:

  • Rent a one room office downtown to use as a studio
  • Scale down production to make room for babe (though how, I don’t know, I’ve already went from six totes of fabric to two, and less than 8 SF of production room, and it’s really really really difficult to get stuff done in this teeny space already).
  • Try to afford a four bedroom house (in WNC? HA! I would need to win the lottery).
  • Buy a three bedroom home with either a main level office or place that could be used as an studio, like a sun room (light is essential for product photography so a basement is out of the question, unless it magically has tons of natural light) or convert a shed into a kick-butt fully functioning studio space with heat, AC and good lighting within a year or two of moving.
  • Buy a school bus/camper and convert it into a mobile studio, with monster graffiti all over the outside of it, of course.
  • Set up a Yurt in the backyard of our tiny rental, move studio to Yurt. Or move us into Yurt, turn house into studio.
  • The most undesirable option is to shelf Lu & Ed for several months until we are in a better position financially & space wise. I am loathe to do that and completely halt the growth I’ve made since moving. I’ll empty the living room and turn it into a studio before I shelf Lu & Ed.

As you can see, I have a lot to figure out in a few short months about what path I need to focus my energy on – while still getting the house ready for babe. Renting a one room office space is so far the most appealing option for space requirements but I would have to greatly increase production & sales to make it a viable option for my budget which will be tough with a new babe – and the added rent & utilities for a space would be equal to what we’d pay on a mortgage for an additional bedroom or two…. so much to think about and decide on!

Right now? I’m just focusing on meeting the production goal. I have a lot of work & planning ahead of me, in order to keep Lu & Ed functioning at full capacity, but hitting that goal is the first step. After that, we will see what we are able to make happen after the babe gets here. It’ll be tough, but I’m excited to share this journey of new motherhood & small business ownership with all of you!

Got small space living tips? Please, share them with me in the comments – we need to make this tiny house work until at least March of 2017. Got space saving tips for babies (besides using lots of Mon-stors to hold clothes and toys?) – share those in the comments too! I’ll need all the help I can get!

 

16 thoughts on “500 Monsters in 2016 update & some really BIG news

  1. What about a house with the dinng room and an eat in kitchen…. Eat in the kitchen and use the dining room as craft space?

    I have seen a lot of crafters do that or turn the formal living room into a craft space.
    My mother in law turned the doorless office into her craft room.

    Several options for when you look at houses with more bedrooms you might score and extra space that you can convert
    Good luck

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    • Unfortunately, not an option around here, as not a lot of homes have separate dining rooms in our budget – plus, with pins and scissors, I really need a room I can close off from the rest of the house to keep babe, little nieces and nephews & kids I baby sit safe. :-\ Plus if we had a dining room, I’d love to be able to use it since I have 10 nieces and nephews, 3 siblings, family & extended family here we invite over frequently – unfortunately we usually end up eating outside since there isn’t room! lol!

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  2. what about a house with a basement? or a porch that could be enclosed? yes maybe not as much light and not the most ideal but just until you have the finances to move into a much bigger place. Renting space elsewhere (wether office or even a small apartment) would be a big additional expense, plus you would lose all those spur of the moment times when you find yourself able to squeeze in some sewing time, because of the time wasted in the commute.
    I sympathize with the little space, I’m in a small 2 bedroom apt with a 10yr boy and 14 yr girl. I sleep on the couch and my workspace is an arm chair with side table and my 10 plus rubbermade totes of yarn are in my sons bedroom.

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    • A basement is definitely not doable – I need tons of natural light for product photography and sewing. Unless it had great light it just wouldn’t be feasible – my first dedicated studio space was in a basement but it was a terrible working environment and difficult to photograph items.

      adding on or finishing a porch into a climate controlled room also probably wouldn’t be feasible financially for several years – I spent my entire savings (straight to $0 in my bank) moving here, so it’d have to be something usable right away & we could work on another solution in a few years.

      As for the space outside of the home, I work dedicated hours currently and would like to keep semi normal working hours after the babe is a few months old so production stays consistent, the commute would be less than five minutes to the offices I’m considering, and it’d be easier to leave work at work if it was a separate location…

      A lot to consider! Thanks for the ideas and support! Little space working isn’t easy and unfortunately I need a LOT of space to make monsters & store inventory/supplies. 😁

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  3. We turned my craft room into the baby’s room and it worked out for the first year😊. We lived on base so we had no choice but she never messed with my stuff. I also invested in those quilt clips instead of pins so she wouldn’t poke herself. I bought a plastic drawer from target to hold my fabrics and hung fabrics in her closet. It was hard but I made room for both of us!

    Congrats mama! Mine are 8 years apart so I understand 😀 G will be an awesome big brother, I can’t wait to see that cute baby!

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    • I plan to cosleep for the first few years like I did with my son, so a third bedroom would work for a while as a studio until she’s bigger. The goal is definitely to upgrade to a larger home next year at some point!

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  4. I use the dining room table for cutting and a tray table in front of the couch for sewing. I also pack sharp and pointy things in a plastic shoebox for easy carrying.

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    • Unfortunately our dining area is about the same size as my current sewing space in my bedroom – and the main living area I watch kids I baby sit in, so living room/kitchen/dining set ups won’t work for my studio. I should clarify, it takes a LOT of room to make a monster – at least 9sf just to cut one out, And I need my full 8′ table to sew one, plus I have fabric storage, inventory storage,

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  5. Woo hoo!! Life has been blessing you!!! Congratulations!!! I have seen nanny beds in closets, removing door of course, but have a plan for the first year. So, craft room to toddler room, AND a she shed! If you can’t move, a shed such as the ones you find on Lowes parking lot, add extra windows, run basic electric, maybe a window unit ac/heat. You can insulate it, add a deck/porch. It’s lockable, designated just for monstor construction?!?

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  6. Congrats!!! I hope you make your 500 goal, and of course, sell them all! 🙂 Suggestions on small space living…. Don’t forget to go “up” with things – shelves and stackable totes can work wonders. Those totes can also be used to create a “wall” or separation of space, plus, they come in awesome colors. Use curtain rods to hang things from instead of just curtains, such as pieces of fabric for inspiration or if they’re installed into studs, closet organizers. Old milk crates or other box-type things can be stacked together to make cubicles for storage – mount them higher up on the wall in a row, so they don’t become a hazard for toppling over (and then you can put things on top of them as the top becomes a shelf!). Hang an old ladder from the ceiling and then hang hooks or other things from it, with organizers to create a make-shift closet. Instead of one rod in a closet, use two (shirts for one, pants for another) right above each other – most closets have just one, but unless you only have dresses, you don’t need that much height. If your rental will allow, create a table top you can mount on the wall, fold it down when you need, then move it back up when you need the space, similar to tables in a camper or tiny house – you could paint it to look like “art” when it is hanging on the wall. Personally, I like your “mobile” studio idea. You can still “get away”; if it’s towable, an engine doesn’t need to run (you just need a friend with a truck to move it if/when you need) so you can probably get a good deal on something that’s been more abused than used; you can lock it up; and it can be modified with some elbow grease, DIY, and thrifty finds (which, you’re great with!). Plus, it will be more of an “investment” that you could sell again later or re-purpose again if/when you get a better solution for a studio. Paying rent on an office space is less of an investment and just another “expense”. Hope these tips help or at least get your creative mind flowing with other ideas! Good luck!!

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