A chaotic mind and other things

- Life of Johanna

Today Kathie commented “I really enjoy visiting your blog. I am always impressed with how much you squeeze into a day. Do you ever sleep?” 

First of all thank you Kathie for the compliment about my blog! And secondly I felt I really wanted to answer your question, since I often find myself curious on how others do it and I wish it was something more people would talk about.

The thing is that I am neither a workaholic nor do I excel in efficiency – and I do need a lot of sleep. I am not the sort of person that would say “my life is soo hectic and I love it!!”  And while I probably appear fairly composed most of the time, I can be pretty frazzled on the inside. I think I have a tendency to make things look easier than they actually are for me. So I don’t have any great time managing tips to spread around! Though I am very fond of list making and taking big tasks and turning them into several mini tasks in order to not be overwhelmed.  Also I got a few things going for me, personality wise. For instance I am very project driven and disciplined – I am pretty good at buckling up and getting on with it because I know it will pay off in the end, even though the road there will be less than fun. Also I am a rather optimistic person in general, and that helps too.

But this morning for instance, I had something of a breakdown and was pretty close to calling it quits and even cried a bit. Everything I did went horribly wrong and it didn’t help that I felt pressed for time since this is the long Easter holiday and the kids are with their dad so I wanted to squeeze in as much sewing as possible today so that the rest of the weekend could be work free. I feel a little better now, but am still on the fence if I should keep up with this workload or not.

So that is my story! 🙂

Oh and Kathie also wanted to know more about the red sneakers, they are called Mobile and are also available in a fantastic apple green colour and classic white/black.

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  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I know how you're feeling… I guess people with a "driven" personality always try to squeeze in one more thing – no matter how much they've already finished/achieved! I try to be more attentive to when I need a break and remember this is my hobby, not life or death! I hope you're feeling better soon, and have a nice, restful holiday!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I am curious if you feel it is worth it from a cost/time perspective with Floremark. When one considers the time spent sewing and the cost of materials, it seems like you would need to charge a lot more than you do for your lovely garments. I am not at a level where I can sell anything I make, but people always ask me why I don't consider it. I always try to explain that if it takes me 15 hours to sew something like jacket (from cutting to finishing), and the materials cost me around $20, I would have to charge an insane amount of money for it to be worth my time. I don't mind sewing for me because the end result is something I can wear, which has intrinsic value. But sewing for others seems so time consuming. I've done some basic alterations and things like zipper replacements, and I did recently make 3 pairs of trousers for a friend, and charged $25/pair for labor (it seemed reasonable as a pair of trousers take me only about 3-5 hours). But even then, I see that at $25 a pair, I am not making much money at it.

    Do you feel the profit you receive from Floremark is enough to justify the work, or are you motivated more by the creative process? I love coming up with my own designs and picking out fabrics for them, but after sewing it once I think "there is no way I could sew up 4 or 5 more of these, especially if they are for someone else."

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Kerry: Both yes and no I guess! I deliberately picked knitwear that I can cut and serge together in a few hours. Anything woven takes me forever to make, so that would be out of the question. Also I buy everything wholesale, and even directly from the factory sometimes which makes the material cost much lower. That said, it is still not something anyone could make a living from solely because lets face it, very few things handmade in the western world is a profit maker, because it is really hard to charge a full price. I accept that and see this as a hobby with a profit. And if I feel it is not be worthwhile anymore I can just quit! So I don't really feel tied up like that, but yes it is a lot of work!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    But doing this has given me a great insight about the financial realities of small time designers who does their own production. Yes a indie designer top might cost $130 in a store, but the designer only gets around $65 and that will have to pay for material, labor, overhead, marketing etc so I can see that in the end, it will be tempting to move the production to Bangladesh.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Oh and I forgot the taxes, if you run it as a business and not a hobby in Sweden, they are 50% percent on all profits! So I am really impressed by small designers who decides to make a career out of fashion.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I'm so glad that you feel better after the stress this morning! You do seem to do A LOT. I love that question from previous commenter Kerry about whether producing garments for sale is worth the time and energy. It is the exact reason I stopped, for now. I was working with wovens, and refashioned materials to boot! When my day job (read: the work that pays the bills) got busy, it was clear I would have to stop thinking about producing clothes for sale.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Antoinette: Yes it was such a great question, and something I think a lot of hobbyists has pondered once in a while. And that was also what I was curious to investigate when I started Floremark. And I totally see where you are coming from when taking a hiatus, making clothes is time consuming, and if you have to rip apart the fabric first, than even more so! As for me, my future with this is also very much up in the air, but I find that every sale is a very addictive shot of adrenaline! So the idea of pulling the plug is a little harder than I first thought!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Uta: Yes I think it is a personally trait, there is always a new project on the horizon. I think this is both a gift and something of curse! Gift because new ideas are very exhilarating and gives you a sense of purpose but it can also be exhausting!

  • Reply
    Ann's Fashion Studio
    April 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I could gave written this post :)))) so I truly relate, I am my worst enemy…I am very hard on myself but I accept that and in the end all turns out well and everything gets done. We only go around once and it would be a shame to not try different things. If they make us happy and we can do them it's wonderful, if not ~ on to the next 🙂 There is no limit on the things we can do. Little breakdowns are good too 🙂 it's just our mind/body telling us to slow down,take a break, and not necessarily to quit, just decompress (to relax or unwind, especially after being busy or stressed).

    Enjoy your Easter weekend.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Ann: I love your encompassing and accepting attitude! You are very wise 🙂 The up and downs are very much apart of life, and in order to stretch out and try new things there comes both some fun times and some hard times. BTW I love this quote of yours:
    "We only go around once and it would be a shame to not try different things. If they make us happy and we can do them it's wonderful, if not ~ on to the next"
    So very very true!

  • Reply
    Susan Fogel
    April 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Back in California when I owned my own mortgage company and was politically active, I yearned for time to sew. And when I did announce to all that I was holing up for some qualtiy time in my sewing room, it seemed that nothing would go right. I would make silly mistakes in the cutting,the serger acted up, or some other disaster befell me. I was putting too much pressure on myself. And I would cry and scream about lack of time for myself.
    So I started to give myself little time pockets where I would cut out a garment, and maybe while waiting for the coffee to brew I would fuse interfacing. Then when I had more time a lot of the work would be done.
    I am semi retired and living in Mexico on the beach.
    While I was still working , from here but in a high pressure job, I would get up at four, have coffee read, and then go sew till 7. Have breakfast with my beloved, walk on the beach, shower and be in front of my computer at 9.
    It worked well for awhile. It was Christmas and I was sewing all my gifts.But I could not sustain that!

    Since La Crisis, and the loss of my job, I have been writing. But I have decided to sew every day. This keeps me alive, creative and connected to soemthing I love.
    I also started a sewing blog so I can connect with other women like you.
    I have tried selling my art pillows in the past, but sewing loses it's magic for me when I am doing it for money.
    I do love to surprise people with gifts I have made just for them.
    I recently made four purses for my sisters, my daughter, and a cousin. One of my guests ( I have a vacation cottage that I rent) mailed the packages for me when they returned to the US. Everyone was delighted and surprised.
    And I loved making them.
    I will be back and hope you will follow my blog!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Johanna… hoping that another day, and perhaps some chocolate, have helped to relieve some of your stress. Thanks for the info on the fab red sneaker. Alas, they don't seem to be available in the US.

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