Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fall Jars Wall Hanging

Happy Thursday, everyone!  I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far!  Well, I got my Fall Jars pattern finished, and I have to say I'm very pleased with it!


Fall Jars Wall Hanging pattern, $4 on Etsy

I plan on making one for every season, too!  I guess the truth is that I just love mason jars, and the hipster in me wants you to know that I loved them before they were cool!  

I don't know if I'll get into making free patterns again yet.  I might.  Most important for me is to get back into a rhythm of designing patterns for my shops because that's very important to me to be creating.  But keep your eyes peeled!  I might just surprise you :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  It's been a while since I last posted, huh?  Well, it's spring here in western NY and that means I'm busy busy busy.  I had lots of garden work to do to get things ready for the planting season, not just in my own garden but also in my mom's garden since she's unable to do most of it herself.  I also had to work on her front yard where she had a pipe replaced earlier this year.  Have you ever had that kind of work done?  Let me tell you, the ROCKS you have to deal with is unreal!  I had to rake about 5 wheelbarrows full of rocks out of her front yard!  My mom has been having a blast using those rocks to decorate and pave her back yard, and she still has a huge pile left. 

I've also been going through our pantry and freezers, getting space ready for the season.  I canned up a bunch of beef that was in our freezer from last year to make room for the new 1/4 cow we'll be buying shortly, and then I canned up all sorts of jam to get some fruit out of the freezer from last year.  I made some wine with leftover pear juice I had from an overabundance of years my MIL's pear tree produced last year.  It's been a very busy spring!

Thankfully, the hardest parts of spring/summer are over now.  The garden is going great, and now it just needs watered and fertilized once in a while.  The majority of the spring canning is done.  I have to make some more strawberry jam and a batch or two of blueberry jam (from last year's blueberries), and I'm thinking about canning another batch of chili with the six pounds of ground beef left from last year.  My mom's front yard is all raked and grass seed is starting to come up!  Phew.  Now I can finally get back to blogging and designing PC designs, which is what I really want to do!

Here's some pictures of my life lately.

I canned up some strawberry jam on Monday this week.  I've been making lots of jam to give away as Christmas presents this year.  I have an overabundance of half pint jars and wouldn't mind getting rid of some of them!






I've been getting some strawberries from my garden the last few days!  Boy, they're really producing like crazy this year.




 I have a lovely flower garden behind my garage that's just starting to bloom.  The clematis did great this year, although it has been nipped by the deer since I took that picture.  Most of the rest of those flowers are black eyed Susans.  I planted them as a remembrance of my favorite aunt when she died, and they have since taken over my garden.  I think that's very cool!


This is kind of a bad picture because the fence is in the way, but here's my small side garden.  The left side is tomatoes and carrots this year, and the right side is my strawberry bed.


This is my mini greenhouse where I grow peppers.  It's literally the only way I can get peppers to ripen in my garden.  It works great!  I've had it for three years now and I've gotten so many pepper using it, plus it's a great way to start my cucumbers and zucchinis early.


And here are my cucumbers!  I actually took these pictures last week, and they're literally twice as tall now.  They're just zooming.


Here's some zucchini and tomatoes.  They too are twice as tall as they were last week.


Here's an outside view of my garden.  I have to fence it because we have a terrible deer problem.  They will literally eat my vegetable garden to the ground if I leave something unfenced.  They actually ate one of my apple trees to a nub last weekend :(


I'm especially proud of my cabbage so far this year.  Again, this was a week ago and they're now so much bigger than they were in this picture.  I have had such trouble growing cabbage in the past, but look at how nice they are!  The rest of the box is full of rutabagas and ground cherries.


Here's a side view of the garden.  That's potatoes on both sides on the bottom of the picture.  They're blue potatoes and I'm so excited to harvest them!


I have a shade garden in the very back of my yard.  This picture doesn't do it any justice at all.  It's very lush and had a pretty wild look to it.  The fencing in the middle is so that the deer don't eat the hydrangea, although someone really tried to last night! 


I have been working on designs too!  This is my latest design, inspired by all the canning I've been doing lately.  It's very nearly done now and I should be posting on Etsy sometime this week.  Keep your eye out!


I guess that's all for now.  I have a lot of work to catch up on, but I hope to be posting on my blog more regularly now that I have less going on in my life!  Hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Christmas Block Patterns!

Happy Monday, everyone!  Long time no see, eh?  I've been so busy with my spring projects that I have barely had time to do anything else lately.  But I did have some time to make a new pattern!

Christmas Quilt Decor Pattern, $7 on Etsy

Christmas Quilt Coaster Pattern, $4 on Etsy

Christmas Quilt TBC Pattern, $4 on Etsy

Actually I made a couple patterns!  I love turning quilt blocks into plastic canvas pieces, and these were so fun and easy to make.  Don't you think these would look nice on your table at Christmas time? 

Well, I'm off again.  I have some planting to do and some canning.  Maybe I'll have enough time to blog next week!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy Fall Wall Hanging

Happy Monday, everyone!  I have a new pattern up in my Etsy shop this morning!

https://www.etsy.com/littlesapphire/listing/609592401/pattern-happy-fall-wall-hanging-in?utm_source=Copy&utm_medium=ListingManager&utm_campaign=Share&utm_term=so.lmsm&share_time=1524489914876
Happy Fall Wall Hanging pattern, $4 on Etsy
Phew!  It took me forever to finally finish this one.  I'll be happy to start a new project!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

So am I a Housewife or a Designer?

If you've read my about page, you already know that I'm a homemaker and have been for a while.  I'm going to be honest here and say that I actually wanted to be a homemaker since I was about 16.  My mom was a single working mom and I'm her youngest child, and I would often play homemaker while she was off at work.  I would clean and cook and generally take care of the house.  I wasn't very good at it back then, of course.  I was 16 and I didn't actually have a teacher.  I was pretty much teaching myself how to do everything.  It's taken me a long time, but I'm actually starting to feel like I'm good at it.

Well, I also wanted to be an artist from a young age.  I think I started telling people I was going to grow up and be an artist when I was maybe 10, and around the age of 14 I started pursuing art pretty seriously.  I'm a fairly decent artist.  I'm not a great master or anything, but I like to believe that I'm pretty good.

One of my favorite paintings I've done.

I thought it would be a pretty cool idea to combine my two passions.  If I stayed home to be a homemaker, I figured, I would have the time and freedom to pursue my art as well!  Right?  That makes a lot of sense.  But somewhere along the way, I ended up putting the art part of me aside and focused almost exclusively on the homemaker part.  I wanted to be the best homemaker ever.  I loved it when my mom said I was just like my grandma (who was an amazing homemaker), and reading all the cool stuff about home care filled me with happiness. 

Over the years, I've stopped thinking of myself as an artist and instead think of myself as a homemaker.  When someone asks me what I do, I usually tell them I'm a housewife.  That, I have found, is an excellent way to stop a conversation dead in its tracks.  I live in NY state, and even though I'm in a more conservative agricultural part of the state, it's still a pretty liberal area in general.  Women just don't stay home to play homemaker, so no one really knows what to say to you when you tell them you're a housewife.  It's like you told them that you're from Mars or something.  I think it's especially confusing for people because I don't have children and they can't figure out why I would even want to stay home. 

Well it occurred to me recently that I'm not exclusively a homemaker anymore.  Yes, it's true, I take care of my home and my family, but I'm also a designer.  I have my own business!  I pay self-employment taxes like a grown up and everything!  Finally, I have an answer to the "what do you do?" question that won't end the conversation!

Except, in the moment, it totally slips my mind that I'm anything but a homemaker.  Isn't that funny?  Apparently, in my mind, I'm just a homemaker.  I can't figure out if that says something about me or not.  Like, am I dismissing my design work?  Or maybe my homemaking is more important to me?  Hmm. 

My husband says I don't give myself enough credit with my design work, and he's probably right.  I have a habit of being too hard on myself by expecting perfection and instant success.  He also thinks I should definitely call myself a designer.  I want to agree with him, but I just have such a hard time remembering to do it! 

So, I need to start practicing.  I'm going to start thinking about myself as a designer, and try to remember that the work I do is important in my life.  It gives my days meaning, it brings joy to my life, so I should try to take it more seriously. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Tips: My To-Do Planner

Have you guys seen those amazing planners people are making?  Some people call them bullet journals, but they're essentially fancy planners.  They're all over Pinterest, and they really make me jealous most days.  They have stickers and cool little drawings and they use lots of colorful pens.  Go check them out!  I promise they'll make you jealous too.

Part of what makes me jealous about seeing those planners is that they make me feel like other people are clearly more organized than I am.  I mean, look, they have the right stickers on the right days and everything!  They not only had time to think out their week, but they also had time to draw a pretty picture to illustrate what they're going to be doing, too!  I could never do that in a million years.  Sigh.

Now that's not to say I don't have a planner.  Oh yes, I have a planner.  It's very simple, it's very to the point.  When you lay it out flat, the two pages make up a week and each day has a section to write things it.  It literally cost me less than $2 at Walmart.  I decided to go as cheap as I could because I knew in my heart I could never have one of those beautiful planners.  Nope.

You see, I realized something recently; the more time I spend on my planner, the less time I have to get my tasks done and the less likely I am to reach my goals.  Now this may not be true of everyone.  I'm sure there are actually people who can make beautiful planners and also get all the tasks done.  But personally, I would rather spend my creative energy on my creative projects, my designing, my sewing, my garden.  That's what really matters most to me.

So my tip today is a simple one: don't feel bad if your planner looks like this.



I use my planner as a glorified to-do list.  When I think of something I haven't written down, or that I don't know which day I can get it done, I write it on a post-it note and stick that in the planner too.  Then I use my trusty pink felt tip pen to write everything down and cross it off as I do it.  It's extremely low tech, and definitely not worth putting up on Pinterest, but it works really well for me.  If I have a free minute in my day and don't know what I should be doing, I just go check out my list and there it is in pink and white.  Simple as can be! And because it's notebook sized, it's a lot harden to lose than a loose piece of paper, which is what I used to write my to-do lists on.

So do you keep a pretty planner?  Do you have a special place to write your to-do list?  I'd love to hear what everyone else does!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Prioritizing My Life

Happy Monday morning, everyone!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  Mine was hectic, I suppose, but I made it through.  Monday is always a good day for me, because it's a fresh start, a brand new chance to do my best.  I'm also a morning person!  So yes, I'm sure I'm very irritating to all you groggy I-hate-Monday types, but that's just the way I am.

I did however wake up this morning with a feeling of dread.  I knew that my to-do list was going to be a mile long and I really didn't know if I would have the time or energy to get it all done.  Then on top of that, my tummy is kind of achy this morning (probably from the birthday cake I ate yesterday, ugh), so knew I had to prioritize. 

As much as I love doing my design work, the truth of the matter is, my home and my family comes first in my life.  I think that should be true of everyone.  If we all put our homes and families first, imagine how much nicer this world would be.  Honestly, I wouldn't be very productive with my creative work anyway if I had that soul crushing feeling of knowing how much needed to be done weighing on me.  It really helps my creativity if I have a clean slate, a clear mind to work with. 

So for today at least, I'm working on cleaning, getting must-do home tasks done, and otherwise focusing on my home.  If I get it all done early, then I'm going to work on my design work.  I finished stitching my happy fall sign on Friday, and now I need to get the graph done and take pictures, etc.  I need to get it done soon because I seriously need to start working on Christmas designs.  Now that Annie's is coming to me and asking for patterns, I want to have some ready!  That's way more professional (and less stressful) than saying, ugh yeah, give me two weeks and I'll make you something! 

Have a great Monday everyone!  I hope it's a productive day for you!