Get thee to the Swap-o-Rama-Rama

I almost forget to tell you about this event tomorrow!

Des Moines is hosting its first Swap-o-Rama-Rama at the Des Moines Social Club, 1408 Locust St. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. I’ll be volunteering at the door, and then at 2 p.m. I’ll be giving a quick demo on how to make a T-shirt rug. You cannot make a T-shirt rug that quickly, but people can at least learn how to get one started, using T-shirts they pick up at the swap.

Basically, the way it works is that people pay $10 at the door and bring a bag of used clothing. The clothes get sorted into jeans, tops, skirts, etc. And then you can rifle through them and pick out some things you might want to wear. The rest of the day you can go to workshops and learn how to embellish, resize, and upcycle those clothes into all-new-to-you garments. There will be sewing machines there and everything.

Cool, huh?

The ladies of Vitae Design Collective (seamstresses extraordinaire) are also helping put together a fashion show.

So, after you hit the farmers market, come on over!

Freelancing: month one

Talking with a friend last night, we both realized it was almost August already. And that made me realize that I’ve made it through my first month as a freelancer!

It’s been good. Really good. Kind of strange, given that a week of it was spent in Lawrence doing basically nothing, a week in Nia training and another week getting ready for and then riding in Ragbrai. But considering that I’ve spent this week actually working, and almost being overwhelmed by work, I feel like things are going well. I even got paid for a couple things today.

There’s always this fear that hangs over you. Like, OK, I can pay my bills this month, and next month. But what if shit hits the fan in October and I’m totally screwed? Which is not a very positive place to hang out, so I try to keep those thoughts as fleeting as possible.

Another interesting tidbit. This month I had time to thrift, and then I put up a bunch of those items on Etsy just to see if anyone would buy them. And they did! My handmade stuff rarely sells as quickly as this stuff has. So now I’m pondering making vintage a larger part of what I sell. It’s hard, because you want to stay committed to your original plans, but eventually you have to decide what’s worth your time. And I so love the thrill of the treasure hunt when I find this stuff at garage sales, so I’m happy to keep doing it.

I would say, though, that the number one reason I’m doing so well right now is that I did take several months to plan my departure, and move my debt payments into saving for this change. I would highly recommend that you do that if you’re pondering working for yourself. A lot of things have not panned out yet (though I believe they will eventually), so you need to be ready if you’re not making a full income right away. Don’t do something crazy like go without health insurance or start spending your 401k money – that is last resort type of stuff.

I’m also still struggling with time management a bit. I’ve checked quite a few things off my to-do list, but I’m finding that the less desirable things (like working out!) will still fall to the back burner if I don’t schedule them in. Because who’s gonna make me do it but me?

If you ever have any questions for me about how I’m making this work, feel free to ask.