Workshop timesheet on clipboard

I Remain Aten’t Dead – and 728 HOURS!

Hello, friends. For those of you who followed my maker blog in the past, welcome back, and for those who are new here, welcome!

I’ll be posting here about projects I’m working on, random workshop odds and ends as well as new things coming up in my webshop Uncommon Works, where I sell my unique designs and handmade items including beeswax candles, leather pouches and laser cut stamps.

Tealights, tealight gift box, leather belt pouch and rubber stamp

I haven’t yet decided on my posting schedule here; I’ll probably aim for a couple of posts a month, although right now I’ve got a tonne of project notes and photos in the queue so we’ll see if my enthusiasm gets the better of me on that.

I will also be reposting the entries from the original blog at intervals (probably aim for about one a week) – these will be categorised “Rerun” and dated with their original post date. Four of them are up already, including my original post explaining the 10,000 Hour project and the start of my maker journey.

I’m still fiddling with the layout here, so if you’ve got any feedback to make it better please drop it in the comments below – is it readable? Does it work okay on your device (particularly on mobile)? Anything you’d like to see here?

For now, I’ll give you a whistle stop tour of where I’m at and what’s going on.

Selling my Stuff

I launched my webshop Uncommon Works towards the end of last year, and it’s been really satisfying to be able to sell my own creations through my own shop.

My biggest products so far are my beeswax candles and tealights, which I also sell in gift boxes. I did good business over Christmas, then had a very successful post on the Not on Amazon Facebook group in January which got me over 50 orders in about four days – that was quite a week.

I’m also on the Not on Amazon directory website, Nether Edge Fair, and the Meersbrook Makers Market, all of which collect together loads of wonderful makers, artists and small producers – I recommend giving them all a look whether you’re shopping for yourself or for gifts.

My candles are also for sale at Nether Edge Herbarium, Create Coffee and Bare alternative (all in Sheffield), and I have two Scottish retailers coming on board shortly. There is something about having the things I make for sale in “real shops” that is massively exciting (I’ll talk about the dispensers I made for them in another post – those are one of my favourite projects in the last year).

My 10,000 Hours

I spent a lot of time through 2019 and 2020 struggling to find time and energy to make things. Unlike a lot of people I’ve worked fulltime through most of the pandemic and while I’m massively grateful to have had a stable, safe job I have to admit to being a little envious of friends who were furloughed and getting up to all kinds of projects in their vast amounts of free time. I’ve also not been in a great place with my mental health even before Covid, which has sapped my creativity and productivity.

As a result (and having already been quite behind from early 2019), I’m almost a year behind on my 10,000 Hours project 😊 That said (and I’m not agonising over it – it’s always been an arbitrary figure intended to motivate me to just get more time working on my practical skills) I have now logged just over 728 hours in the last two and a half years making, repairing and modifying things. That’s actually kind of staggering now I look at it!

And I can definitely see the effects. I’m much more confident in my ability to solve practical problems and create things than I was three years ago. I have so many more tools at my fingertips that I’m comfortable using, and I can look at the things I’ve worked on and be more and more proud of what I create – the ideas and the craft that’s gone into them.

I’m sad that I’ve missed the chance to bring you all along on the journey week by week. But I’ve got folders and folders of photos and notes, and I’m looking forward to sharing those projects with you retrospectively, as well as show you what I’m working on at the moment.

Following Along

Talking of, if you’d like to follow along here, here are the best ways to keep in touch:

  1. This blog has an RSS feed at
  2. You can like my Facebook page or follow on Twitter to get various bits of workshop news, photos, new products and all new blog posts.
  3. I’ll be reorganising my mailing lists shortly and you’ll then be able to sign up for email updates of any new posts. If you’ve already signed up for my writing updates, you’ll be merged in automatically.

Thank you for following along with my maker journey, and I’m looking forward to sharing much more with you!

Much love, Mark

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