Dear wonderful blog readers. It’s been a year since I quit my PhD, and I want to introduce you to Sarah.
Let me explain…
A year ago, I was a burnt out, miserable grad student. I no longer enjoyed what I did, nor did I get any joy out of planning my future. I had written an MA thesis, of which I was proud. But I jumped straight in to a PhD and it seemed like the same stuff, but more. Plus more years of international moves and grinding poverty on the tenure track. I was working with wonderful, passionate people, and I felt like I wasn’t being honest with them. I didn’t like myself or the things that I was contributing to the world, which is not a pleasant state to be in (or around!)
Very quickly, the Pins and Thimbles blog took on more and more importance to me. As I got slower, calmer, and better at enjoying myself, I realised that I needed to change my life. I took six months out of my course and started working part time at the State Library of Victoria (I’m still there, it’s an amazing place to work).
I thought that I would write a romance novel, but instead I made this:
And I re-learned old, forgotten skills like how to make clothing:
And after a lot more messing about and uncertainty than I would like to admit,
I quit the PhD and enrolled in fashion school.
Wow, there was a change! And a discovery! Turns out, learning new skills is what excites me in life, even if it’s night classes in the freezing cold Melbourne winters. So what a difference a year makes. Enriched with the skills and the confidence that has been a little Etsy business, I am starting a bigger business of my very own.
I am making something that just doesn’t exist: pretty, flattering, awesome clothes for women and girls who, like me, are just too tall for anything you can buy in a shop. I’ve named it ‘Sarah Vain and Tall’ to pay a fun little homage to a book I love (Sarah Plain and Tall). I feel like if I bring my new skills, plus the sense of fun and colour that Pins and Thimbles has, I can make this something wonderful.
If you know any fabulous tall women who think shopping for clothes isn’t fun, please send them a link to my new blog and encourage them to get in touch. It’s all really rough around the edges but I’m working on it (the back end is a lot more complicated than this neat little WordPress blog). My first items for sale will be ready within the month (cross fingers), and I can’t tell you how excited I am.
What will that mean for Pins and Thimbles? Well, I’m keeping it. In fact, it’s going back to what it was a year ago: a fun hobby blog. The Twitter feed and the Facebook account are disappearing. They’re not as much fun as the blog, and they distract me from making fun stuff. Since I made the decision, I’ve sewn a lot more hexagon flowers! I’ll still keep the Etsy store in case of inspiration, and from time to time will still accept custom orders.
Also: thank you SO much to every one who reads this blog. The support I’ve had for my writing and the weird little things I love to make have changed the way I think about my capacity to learn, my capacity to adapt and create, and that in turn made me think that I was capable of running a business. I really could not have done it without you.