Archives for Career

Up-cycling!

Now, while many people that regularly dip into the “green,” “recycling,” and “natural”-foods and clothing circles will recognize the term–many others may not. Upcycling is the act or art of re-using a material in a completely different fashion than it may have originally been intended. You might recycle an old plastic bag again and again, but an upcycler might take that bag, weave in some recycled fabric, and “upcycle” it into a headband or bracelet. Old paper clips, metal cans and can tops, and bits of glass might be sanded down or linked together to make a bracelet or belt. You can upcycle old plastic bottles and cans into planters and pots for growing fruits and veggies in, even though or especially if they have holes!

I have always had a bit of a soft side for stuffed animals. Having made a few as a kid, I’m thinking of trying them on as a small job. So far I’d made a sock bunny from a discounted sock, when I was hit with the idea of using upcycled clothing and materials to make these stuffed animals out of!

A cute little sock bunny and a WAY too large prototype winged octopus!

(These are just prototypes–the octopi I sell will be a LOT smaller, and the bunnies will look nicer!)

I traipsed into Goodwill (after a failed attempt at finding used clothing at a vintage costume shop), and found some material gold! I got several tanktops, thin hoodies, and long dresses made from super soft materials–in all sorts of patterns! Mostly black and white in stripes, a few plaid, and one solid. Now, using clothing rather than socks will complicate my pattern by a little, but I was able to get QUITE a bit of clothing for just 35 bucks–and I’m thinking it may make as many as 12-15 animals!

Lots of new upcycled cloth to choose from!

(Up-and-coming stuffed animals will have adorable mis-match patterned limbs!)

Poll time! If you’ve ever purchased an artisan stuffed animal, or upcycled good, how much did you pay? What site did you use? Was it worth it? Would you do it again? For about 3+ hours of work (at just minimum wage), a certain amount for materials (which I am getting discounted and ‘sorta’ in bulk, unless they’re buttons and we already had a butt-load of ’em sitting around), and the design I’m using (which is my own)–I’m thinking of charging between 20 and 30 USD for each stuffed animal. So far I’ve only made a bunny–but I’m thinking I’ll do a few little winged octopi, a few frogs, and definitely more long bunnies.

Wish me luck!

To school, or not to school?

That is the question!

For those of us with elementary, intermediate or middle, and high school under our belt–and for those of you with various assorted college degrees, we’ve all been there.

“Is schooling right for me?” “Private, public, or online?” “How many courses should I take?” “Will this major make me happy?” “Why isn’t this working?”

When people ask, I fancy myself a self-analyzing person. I like to know what makes me happy, what puts me to sleep in the morning, and what wakes me back up again at night. Why? Because you can use these suggestions as inspiration for the career that may be the right one for you.

I was raised by two extremely successful, creative, hard-working parents. They brought themselves up from nothing, and strove for the stars. What started out as a young couple with a newborn child, in retail and in college, became a 5-company mini-empire in computer programming, video gaming, screenplay writing, and intellectual property-creating madness. When you’re a kid with some health problems, no motivation, a dream within the medical field, and two amazing success stories for parents–it raises the bar a tad high.

Now, as a kid–my hyper-awesome parents gave me a taste of everything. I took dance lessons, singing lessons, acting and improv lessons, skating lessons, gymnastics lessons, programming courses, art classes, piano, guitar, and violin lessons, you name it! I got good at a little bit of everything–and found that I excelled at basic computer languages and graphic designing. But when you’ve been doing something for a while, you do it for other people, and it doesn’t appear to be anything more than just a hobby–you very quickly lose your passion and drive to do it. So with programming and graphic design scratched off my list–I looked elsewhere.

Going through my old homework made me realize that the only thing I loved more than art and computers, were sciences and psychology. They may seem broad subjects–but a constantly changing landscape of information in a prolific profession where you can really help people seemed too good to be true. I set a seemingly basic plan up with no more than 13 and no less than 12 semesters every month at an old community college I’d gone to in the past.

So far…it hasn’t been going too well.

I’m in 3 of the 6 classes I signed up for, as 1 ends as the other 3 begin later in the semester. It’s already half fun and half hell. Early mornings and late nights with standard college amounts of homework, but accepting teachees, few tests and quizzes, and subjects that I love to learn about. Normally at this point in the semester I’d have started slacking off in class, missed a few days, missed some homework, gotten a bad grade on a test or quiz due to not paying attention, and then missing more days because I feel like I’ve already shot myself in the foot, under the impression that I’ve already failed and am slowly burying myself under a thick layer of confusion and make-up work…But right now? I’ve turned in every assignment and gotten full-credit on every one, no tests or quizzes to speak of–so no bad grades there, I’m participating well, trying to stay excited, I’m always in on time, I’m taking awesomesauce notes. I’m feeling exactly the same, as if I’ve already failed.

I’m tired. I’m sick. Run down and feeling sleep-deprived. Most people complain of these same issues–but make it just fine with a full-time school schedule and work-schedule…so why can’t I seem to make that work?

One alternative to these is online classes. The main problem? No one there to push me. No pressure to do something in front of a class of peers and professor whom I’ve come to respect. Genetics and Psychology are both complex and amazing degrees, but (one moreso than the other) there’s no way to completely achieve either of these solely online. You have to put in the in-person hours in a lab and such.

So. What is left to choose from? I could fall back on my art or programming roots and become a commission artist or free-lancer. Maybe take a night class or two on an instrument I feel more comfortable with and try to become a musician or voice for hire. I could try to stick with it until I absolutely go insane and sick with stress–or quit now before I’ve spent a small fortune in needless classes I’ll never finish. Perhaps I’m simply not in the right place in my life for school–and I need to get around a bit, then come back to school in the future. Maybe I’ll be ready then, maybe not.

What do you think?