Friday, May 17, 2019

Updated Life Choices

Hi everyone!  I hope you're all having a lovely May so far.  It's usually such a lovely month here in western NY, though very wet!  We live very near the top of a hill, so you would think the water would run down to a lower level.  But no, in the spring, our back yard is so wet that I need to wear knee high muck boots, and even then I usually splash mud up on my pants.  It gets so bad in the back near my apple trees that I sink in an inch or two, slip and slide all over the place, and sometimes very nearly lose a boot!  Hubby and I joke that we have to attach pontoons to our lawn mower.

I love spring though, none the less.  It's a chance to get outside again after a very long, cold winter, a chance to get back in touch with nature, to put my hands in the soil, hear the birds, see the little green things growing.  It's lovely and magical. 

I have found myself wanting to spend more time on my home, my garden, and my family this spring, and less time on my designs.  It's not that I have lost interest in designing, but that I want to make the other parts of my life a higher priority right now. 

I was beginning to wonder when I should start getting back into designing when I got an email from Annie's.  Annie's is the one big company that showed interest in my designs, and I actually sold very well on their website.  They're kind of the reason why I pushed myself so hard there for a while, because they were actively seeking new designs.  Isn't that how it is with big companies, always searching for the big new thing?  Well, Annie's emailed to let me know that they discontinued about 3/4 of the patterns they were selling for me. 

At first I was kind of upset about it.  I mean, I worked really hard on those patterns and I also worked really hard to get those patterns on Annie's website...  but then I decided that maybe it was an opportunity to reevaluate my life and where I'm going.  The truth is, I wasn't very happy with where my design business was going and it was a good time to change things.

Working with Annie's really made me proud, but it was also really hard.  When I was working the hardest on my designs, it was a part time job, 4 hours a day and roughly 20 hours a week, but I'm only getting paid about 1/3 the price of even a minimum wage part time job. And because they wanted new patterns frequently, I found myself sacrificing what I wanted to design for what was easy to design.

So in light of all of this, plus the fact that I want to spend more time focusing on my home and family and garden, I decided that I'm going to shift gears a bit.  I do still want to design, but I want it to be on my own terms this time.  That will mean fewer new designs, but hopefully more interesting ones that I can really get into.  More complicated, interesting patterns.  Maybe I'll branch out into quilting?  We'll see.  Right now I feel like I'm trying to find my way, and I'm just trusting God to lead me down the path I'm meant to be on.  So I hope you'll all bear with me! 

I don't know what this means for my blog.  I do want to continue to post about my life, and I probably will post free patterns, but I don't think I can promise weekly patterns like I was doing before.  That's too much of a grind for me right now.  I have a very good library of free patterns though, so make sure to look through it!

I also want to let you all know that all of my patterns are still available in my Etsy shop.  I'm still waiting to see what's happening over at Craftsy (or Blueprint is their new name I think).  I may post my patterns there when they reopen their pattern section, but for now my patterns are only really available on Etsy.  If anyone has any suggestions of where else I can sell my designs, let me know! 

I guess that's all for now.  I wish I could say more about what I plan on doing, but right now I just don't know!  Except to say that I definitely will be working in my garden every day that I can! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What's Up Wednesdays

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I was technically supposed to get back into blogging and designing a month ago after taking a short hiatus, but it just stretched out and kept going.  I was kind of waiting for life to slow down a bit so that I had a little breathing room to work, but I think it ended up going faster rather than slower.

So what's keeping me so busy?  It's finally spring here in western NY!  Gardening in a cold northern area has its special challenges, chiefly that in order to have a productive gardening season, we need to get things in the ground as soon as we can.  So I end up having precious few days when it's both early enough and warm enough to get my garden prepped for the year to come, and I end up working my rear off for a frantic month or so getting ready for warmer weather. 

The good news is that the frantic part of gardening season is pretty much over for me!  The bad news is that it's finally warm enough to get some home improvement projects done, so now I'm out there working on that as well as whatever gardening things need done.  Sometimes it feels like it's a ridiculous cycle of work, but it also feels rewarding to see my home and my garden looking so neat and well kept, not to mention eating those lovely home grown veggies!

There's not a lot growing in the garden yet, just some tiny seedlings and a few small cabbage plants.  In a couple of months it will look like a jungle though!



The peppers and tomatoes I started from seed are so big and bushy!  I think I planted a record number of both of them this year; 21 tomatoes and 12 peppers. 


My mom and I went to an Amish greenhouse today and I picked up the impatiens and coleus for my shady porch pots.


My front porch is the perfect place to harden off my plants because it's nice and shady with just a little sun on the south side.


My flower garden doesn't look like much at the moment.  Everything is just waking up and getting growing big lovely leaves, but it will be full of blooms in a couple of weeks. 


My strawberry bed is just starting to get some open flowers!


And my apple tree is starting to bloom, too!


The forget-me-nots are beautiful, as always.  They may be a nuisance sometimes, but they're so cheery and such a sweet little flower.


This is the front on the house about a week ago, when the rhododendron was still in bloom and I still had a couple of daffodils out. 


I hope you enjoyed looking through my spring garden.  Hopefully I'll have something more interesting  to show soon.  I hope you all have a great week, and look for some updates on my design business in the next couple of days.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Summer Jars and a Hiatus

Good Monday morning, everyone!  I hope you're all having a lovely March so far!  It's so bright and sunny out today, it makes me want to just sing.  It also gave me the boost I needed to finally finish the last of the seasonal jars pattern! 

Summer Jars Pattern, $6 on Etsy

Yep, it's finally all finished now!  I'm pretty happy with the series and I'm even more happy that I'm all done with them!  I guess it took me 6 months to get them all done, holy cow!  Phew. 

With that said, I decided that I need a little time off from designing to regroup and to get some real life things done.  It's going to be gardening season soon and I need to get some important garden tasks done, like replacing the wood around my gardens and getting seeds starting and so forth.  It's also time to start canning (yes, already!) so I need to get working on that took.  I'll get back to work on my designs about mid-April, so keep your eyes peeled for fun new patterns showing up then!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spring Jars

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  It's a cold snowy day here today, the perfect kind of day to work on a crafty project.  And what better project to work on but one that makes you think of spring!

Spring Jars Pattern, $6 on Etsy

I'm almost done with the seasonal jar patterns!  Just Summer to go, and I'm going to get to work on that pronto. 

I know I haven't been posting anything in my blog lately and I'm sorry about that, but it's what I need right now to feel sane with all the craziness going on in my life.  So bear with me, I'm sure someday I'll be able to get back to blogging.  Until then, have a wonderful February and happy early Valentine's day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I did all of my laundry yesterday, so I'm free today, freeeee!  I can't be the only person who despises laundry, right?  I'm sure you understand that feeling.

How is life treating you all this lovely January Wednesday?  And by lovely I mean terrible and yucky.  I don't know what the weather looks like in your neck of the woods, but here it's 37 degrees and raining.  Which doesn't sound too bad, right?  Except this past weekend it snowed 18 inches, and tomorrow it's going back down below freezing.  I may end up making hubby stay home from work.  That sounds like a great recipe for a broken leg.  Actually, it was weather like this that made my sister slip and break a leg several years ago, so I'm not just being paranoid!

Well, I've had an interesting week.  We had a 3-day weekend because my hubby gets (some) bank holidays off and didn't have to work for MLK day.  However, like I said, it snowed 18 inches this weekend and we mostly spent the weekend shoveling and recovering from said shoveling.  The neighbor across the street got stuck in the snow early Sunday morning, and my hubby and two other neighbors went out to help her.  It was a really heart warming sight.


It feels really good to have nice neighbors.  I often fantasize about living way out in the country with my closest neighbors miles away, but then I remember stuff like this, or sitting on the Petersons' porch in the summer, or petting Heather's cats, or chatting with Charlotte.  It's good to have these people in my life, especially since I'm a hardcore introvert and can go days without seeing another person (sans my hubby).

The crazy thing about the snow is that it wasn't even that much for us.  It's a big storm, for sure, but not out of the ordinary.  I can vividly remember the day we got three feet of snow in one day and we spent almost all day shoveling.  The whole town was essentially shout down simply because nobody could get anywhere.  Now that was a big storm!

So what else have I been up to?  Let's see!  It looks like the lettuce in my Aerogarden is getting almost big enough to start picking.  With all of the news about contaminated lettuce making people sick, I decided to stop buying it in the store (plus it's expensive for something so low in nutrition and calories, and hard on the environment to ship a bunch of leaves across the entire country just so I can have a leafy salad).  The garden cost me an initial investment of $80, but I figure it grows $5 worth of lettuce every week, and lasts about 20 weeks before I need to pull out the lettuce and start again.  So that's $100 every time I plant lettuce in it.  Not bad! 


Speaking of being frugal, I've gotten out my favorite book on saving money and I'm working my way through it for a third time.  It's just a fun read, and it inspires me to try a little harder at saving money and being less wasteful.


One of my goals this year is to reduce the amount of waste we generate in our home, including garbage and recyclables.  My plan of action to accomplish that goal is to: purchase fewer items in general, stop shopping online so much, make do with what I have, fix things as much as possible, buy used if I really need something, cook from scratch, buy in bulk, and grow my own veggies.  I already do a lot of those things, but I'm sure I could be better at them. 

On the list of things to be fixed instead of replaced is our kitchen drawers.  Our house is 100+ years old and from what I can tell, it's gone through quite a few transformations.  One upgrade previous owners made was to put in new cabinets and drawers in the kitchen.  However, it was a weird time in history when they did this, because the drawers they installed are plastic?  And instead of working like a normal drawer with rails on the side to slide on, the drawer glides on a central monorail?  It's such an odd system.  And even though the drawers are cracked and some are downright broken, we've never done anything about it because we didn't know how to fix it and we didn't want to replace the entire cabinet system. 

So I was poking around the internet last fall, looking at how I could possible fix these beasts, when I saw that there's a company that sells replacement drawer inserts.  Yay!  I bought them a few weeks ago and we started working on them this weekend.  It's turning out harder to do that I thought it would be, but Chad said that's just how all home improvement jobs go, lol.  He's probably right.


I've been really getting into my sewing in 2019.  I need, NEED to work on my fabric stash.  I actually ran out of room to store it, and now I have a bunch of fabric just sitting in a box in my studio.  I gotta get this done. The good news is that I have plenty of projects I want to do!  Now I just need to make sure I use the fabric I have on hand instead of buying new stuff to finish them.

My latest project is this pretty table runner that I made for my MIL's birthday (shhh, don't tell her).


I ended up using almost all of  my purple scraps, and a big piece for the backing!  I had to buy the white and greens though.  Hopefully I used  more than I bought. 

I'm gathering up some fabrics to start a quilt for my niece, too.  Her birthday is January 17th, so I figure if I start now, I can have it done for her next birthday.


I pulled out a cool book I got at a quilt show.  Some lady was selling it for $1 and I grabbed it.  The book wasn't complete though (it was one of those block of the month books from the 90s, and whoever had it before me only bought 1/3 of the blocks), so I went on Ebay and bought a complete book for $20.  It's such a cool design, and I'm sure I can use the pattern to use up tons of scraps.



Now that my MIL's table runner is all done, I'm going to get back to work on the hexie quilt.  This thing is just taking so long!  I just started quilting it, and decided that the flowers take 5-10 minutes to quilt, and with 25 stars to quilt, that will take me 125-250 minutes, or 2 hours and 5 minutes to 4 hours and 10 minutes.  For a tiny piece!  Sigh.  That's ok.  I'm sure it will be worth it in the end.  I quilt because I like it, right?



I have a PC project in the works too, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  But I did take this picture:


Now I'm off to work on my 2019 garden plan.  Have a good week, everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019: Goals, Anxiety, and Finding Balance

Can you believe that we're standing here at January 18th, half way through the first month of 2019?  That first month always seems to zip right by, doesn't it?  Or is that just me?  Have you set any resolutions or goals for the new year?  If so, how are they doing? 

Mine seem to be on the back burner at the moment, but I'd like to change that, and I guess that's the reason why I'm writing today.

A new year is such a cool idea, isn't it?  Technically, there's not much difference between December 31st and January 1st.  The weather is probably the same, your house is the same, you probably are going to have pretty similar routines.  But mentally, it's a fresh start, a chance to put a book end on one part of your life and start a brand new part. 

When I look back to the year that's behind us, I see all the missed opportunities to do more in my life.  I wonder, am I working hard enough?  I probably could be taking my business to another level if I tried harder, worked longer, stopped being so lazy.  So I set a bunch of goals at the beginning of this month with that in mind, goals to design more, blog more, and to become over all more successful. 

And that's about the time when I started having anxiety attacks.  Early in the morning, my heart would start racing and my stomach would churn, thinking about all of the goals I had laid out for myself and my ever expanding to-do list.  I'm grateful that I'm a homemaker and stay home anyway, because it was debilitating.  I spent three or four days sitting on the floor of my living room, trying to chill out, doing nothing on my to-do lists whatsoever. 

Then of course I got sick, and I spent several days huddled on the couch and in bed.  My body is much wiser than I am.  It knows when I need a real rest, and makes me take it whether I want to or not. 

I'm feeling better now thank goodness, and with my better health comes all this ambition to jump back onto the wagon and start working on all of those goals and long to-do lists again.  Except, I can feel it.  In the pit of my stomach, I can feel the inner resistance.  I know that if I jump back in like I did before and try to give myself a nonstop 16 hour work day, I'm going to end up with anxiety attacks again and become completely useless.  Is it worth it? 

I have so many aspects of  my life pulling me in all different directions, and being a perfectionist at heart, I want to put all of myself into each thing.  I want to be a full time designer, I want to be the best homemaker, I want to have a big veggie garden, I want to take care of my mom full time, I want to be the best wife, I want to have a real social life and good friends, I want to be there for my niece and nephews, I want to be ultra frugal and DIY everything to save money, I want to have a sparklingly clean home.  I want to sew, I want to travel, I want to buy a home in the country and have chickens, I want to volunteer, I want to exercise more, I want to read more. 

But I'm just one person, and not even a very efficient or energetic one.  I can never do all of the things I want to do as perfectly as I'd like to do them.  Some things I'll never get to do.  I have to admit these things to myself because holding onto the false notion that I can do everything if I just try harder is clearly hurting me.

So how do you find balance in this world?  I guess it's a matter of setting priorities, but I think it's more complicated than that.  If I only do what seems like is most important, I end up feeling hollow inside because I almost always leave out the activities that make me full of joy.  I could spend my day homemaking and caring for my mom and my garden and my husband, but at the end of the day I feel like I've lost myself.  I need to include those things that make me happy, like sewing or designing. 

On the other hand, as much as I'd like to spend all day sewing or designing, if I don't include my daily routines of cleaning and cooking and taking care of my loved ones, I end up feeling disconnected from my life.  Balance is so important. I just wish I knew how to reach it. 

Now you all know where I am mentally and why I haven't been posting much on this blog lately.  The truth is, I don't know what to do with myself now.  I guess I'll keep muddling through life the best I can.  One thing I read a while back does give me hope and makes me feel better; goals don't matter nearly as much as making progress every single day.  So I guess that's my motto for 2019.

What does that mean for this blog?  I don't know, honestly.  I like blogging, and I enjoy designing small free patterns for the world.  I just need some time to figure out my life and hopefully I'll get back into it soon.  Thanks for sticking around while I work my way through!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Winter Jars

Hi everyone!  I finally got to work today and finished up the winter jars pattern!  Can you believe how much I procrastinate? 

Winter Jars pattern, $4 on Etsy

I'll probably move on to another project before I get back to work on finishing the jar series.  But if you like this one, make sure to go check out my Fall Jars pattern too, and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Spring and Summer jars too!

Have a great weekend!