Saturday, May 27, 2017


It's a long, long time since I've even made greeting cards regularly, either for my own use or for others to sell. In the long run it probably cost me a fortune, given that I donated wedding invitations as a prize for a competition...

What happened was a shame. I'd never begrudge anyone anything offered in good faith but at the end of a year I was really hoping the voucher wouldn't ever see the light of day again. And then they appeared! They seemed like such a nice couple and I hoped that their wedding might generate some business, so I committed so fully to the project.

Unfortunately they weren't the easiest to deal with and that I was soft in the head. If I said 'it's not available in this colour' they stamped their feet. In addition to this they were ungrateful, it didn't generate a red cent in business & nearly drove me to a nervous breakdown. I said 'NEVER AGAIN!' and haven't done anything since.

My lovely studio has fallen into disrepair and isn't fit for use for papercrafts. It never really was except during high summer, as it's an 8' x 8' wooden garden shed. It's floored properly & has power, but was never insulated against the cold or the damp and there's plenty of both in the Emerald Isle!

Yesterday I received a letter with a harp on it. Over here that usually means trouble, as it's an official letter from the state. We've had three of them recently, one being DG's passport, another being a jury summons and the third being my newly updated Commercial Rates Valuation! Guess which one caused the greatest stir?

Way back in circa 2008 the rates inspector visited & cracked up laughing when she saw my shed. As the inspection cost €250 she was obliged to place a minimal value upon the property of €1.00 which translated into an annual bill of €50.

Any money I made from my hobby went back into the purchase of new and up to date rubber & photopolymer stamps or other card making equipment, I bought business cards and did a start your own business course. I had a dedicated business phone number and I went to a networking meeting in the hopes of making a legitimate go out of my fledgling business. I made cards. I sold cards. I didn't make any money out of it..

One-off bespoke designs are time consuming. They actually prevent more lucrative mass produced products from being made, but they are also what I enjoyed doing (mostly). I came to card making through ill health, which left me with limited reserves & prevented me from really working at making a business out of a hobby. After a while this improved a little and allowed me to return to my work as a nurse on a part time basis but eventually it became obvious that it was too much for me & I've since been retired on health grounds...

Fast forward to yesterday and my 'studio' is now very much something of a catch-all storage area. In the photo above there's a selection of garden tools in the foreground, plant pots, gas canisters, a big bag containing a tent, a spinning wheel, boxes of used stamps & a Warhammer case. To the rear there's a mini-trampoline, baby buggy, cast off bits of my trade and a large quantity of plastic sheeting in the left hand corner. You can imagine my horror when I discovered that it had been reevaluated at €500 pa!

Hopefully they'll be receptive to my argument that I shouldn't be charged any rates given that the area's unused and I don't make cards any more...

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