One of the drawbacks of last summer’s move was moving further away from my husband’s family. Being a plane-ride away from my own family, and being blessed with such wonderful in-laws, it was definitely a draw-back to move an additional half-hour away. However, I think we have seen them more this winter than last and it has been wonderful!
With projects to do around both of our houses, my husband declared every other Saturday as “family work day.” We spend one Saturday a month together at our house, and one Saturday a month together at theirs. Father and son use the time to help each other with projects around the house (and for that I am so thankful) and we women have been making our way through our piles of crafty projects!
There is something really special about the time women spend together creating. I love hearing the sound of knitting needles clacking, of sewing machines humming, and I have certainly benefited from my mother-in-law’s help and wisdom. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we listen to music, sometimes we watch movies, and other times we just sit in the quiet, absorbed in our projects. And there is something in me that thinks “this is the way life is supposed to be.”
Now that my sweater is complete, I have moved on to spending those Saturdays working through some of my sewing UFOs. And with that purpose in mind I rediscovered, and finished, this quilt.
And although I do love the front, it is the back that I am particularly enamoured with.
Isn’t it awesome? And it is just as soft and smooth and satiny as it looks. This was a true treasure out of my grandmother’s fabric collection, and along with many of the fabrics I used for the top, probably purchased 40 – 50 years ago. Sometimes I like to imagine what my grandmother had intended with her purchases. This is a wildly beautiful print! But I am kind of glad she never worked it into one of her own sewing projects, because it looks right at home here on this quilt.
So this is how I have been spending the cold winter days (which stubbornly refuse to turn into spring.) Quilting. Sewing. Knitting. Thinking about my grandmother. Creating quilts and sweaters and memories woven together.
Do you craft together with others? What are your favourite winter-day projects?Read More
Today marks the end of an era. It has been 5 years since I decided to turn my love of all things handmade into more than just a hobby. 4 years ago I opened my first Etsy shop (now replaced by artisaninthewoods), filled it will all manner of sewn and quilted things, and waited excitedly for my first sale. I was ecstatic when I received that first “sold” email from Etsy. And of all the items in my shop, that first sold item was…….
A rainbow pencil holder. 24 slots, all colour-coded to match standard pencil crayon sets. The pockets made just tight enough that the pencils are less likely to fall out during travel.
Not only were these pencil rolls my first sale, but my second as well. They went on to become one of my Etsy best-sellers, and responsible for more custom orders than anything else (except for create-a-creatures of course!)
For the last several years I have been stitching rainbows. I have made them from scrap fabrics, customer-chosen fabrics, and hand-dyed fabrics. I have made them large enough to hold an artist’s set of 36 markers. I have monogrammed them and tied them with ribbon, buttons, and velcro. I have even made them to give as gifts myself, and two people have benefited from receiving one out of my “oops” bin. (Like the one I made with 23 slots instead of 24 – how did I miss that???)
But yesterday, I stitched up what may just be my last rainbow rolls. I love sewing. I love these rainbow rolls. But I also love new projects, and I feel it is time to move on. So last night, with a little hint of nostalgia, I put my last 3 rolls for sale.
It is the end of an era. But the beginning of one too. (If you follow me on Facebook then you will have already seen the newest in laptop fashion!)
You have been good to me rainbow rolls, but now we move on to new adventures!
If you’ve been looking for a rainbow pencil roll, you will still find a few in the shop.
What new projects are YOU embarking on?
Looking back at my blog posts over the last few months it might seem to you that I do nothing but sew cute cuddly create-a-creatures. And although that part of my life and business seems to have grown exponentially and taken up a larger portion of my time – I really have been doing more than just sewing!
And so, as friends who have been out of touch for awhile, let’s get caught up! Here’s what’s been happening in my neck of the woods:
1. I am teaching Kindergarten again, which I love. This year I started a class blog (for parents of students only – sorry) and I love, love, love being able to share all of the crazy, happy, exciting moments of our days together. One of my favourites from the past few weeks was creating a blizzard in the gym using crumpled up pieces of scrap paper. One of my students said “This is the best day ever!” I love hearing that!
2. I have just started reading this book. I have had a hold on it at the library for so long that I can no longer remember who recommended it to me or why I wanted to read it. What I’ve read so far makes sense, but the jury is still out…
3. This song has become one of my favourites. I love the imagery in it. Wow.
4. I have discovered that I love green smoothies. It’s funny how your tastes change over time. My current favourite mixture is kale, frozen peaches, spirulina, a little maple syrup, and almond or coconut milk. It’s very green, but good.
5. I feel like I have become an expert in Disney World vacations – and I haven’t even been yet! I read this book and this book cover to cover. I never knew there was so much attention to detail in the parks, I guess as a kid you don’t really notice or remember those things. I am looking forward to experiencing it all as an adult.
6. Truth be told, I really have been spending most of my time sewing creatures, and I love it. But I am also hoping to take some time to finish up some other projects I started last year (um…yeah..and some I started the year before that.) This year I have vowed to not buy any new fabric until I finish up old projects – it’s only February and it has already been a hard promise to keep! But there are several of those old projects that I am really looking forward to finishing and hopefully can share with you soon! In the meantime, one of my current favourite custom pieces. I love the ruffles on the dress!
And now it’s your turn! What’s been happening with you these last few months? Any exciting books, or songs, or projects on the go?
Some people say that as you get older, time seems to go faster. Well, I am not that old, but I can’t imagine a month flying by faster than this past January. Despite the weeks of cold weather, in a month that often drags by, I just looked at the calendar and can’t believe that we are well into February now.
Where did that time go?
Well, for one thing I have been busy with custom creatures. At the moment I am accepting new orders to be started in April! I have never had a waiting list before which is both exciting and overwhelming. Sometimes I wish I had the time to tackle every new project right now!
I have still been working my way through orders for the children’s camp, and I finally updated my Flickr page to showcase all of the creatures I have created so far. It’s become quite a little collection. I have been enjoying making the little creatures for the camp so much I think I might add this smaller option to the shop this spring – stay tuned for details!
And in between all that I squeezed in a custom baby toy. This little guy was fashioned after a favourite childhood toy of a woman who is now expecting her first baby. What a unique and special baby shower gift this will be! I can see why she must have liked it so much – this inside-at-night photo doesn’t quite do it justice – it’s a pretty cute toy!
In the midst of all of this creature craziness we have also been busy planning a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. I haven’t been since I was a young child and my husband has never been, and we are so excited to be sharing in the magic with our very best friends and their two girls. I’m not sure who is more excited – the adults or the kids, and I think it might be the adults! In the midst of one of the coldest winters in recent memory, I must admit I am also looking forward to going somewhere warm!
Does anyone else find the time flying by? What projects are keeping you busy?
I love blogs. I love getting to know people through what they write and post. I adore tutorials and Pinterest is my new best friend. But I am also, admittedly, a bit of a scanner. I am sure you are too. When you read at least 20 blog posts a day, you start to get selective about what you read.
But there are a few blogs where I read every word, every time. And my friend Krista’s blog is one of them.
Quite possibly, the reason I read everything she writes is because I know her, like, in real life! We used to work together, and now that she is at home homeschooling her two amazing boys, reading her blog is a way to stay connected. It also has a lot to do with the fact that she is an amazing writer. Once I start, I just have to find out what happens next. And I know that sometimes she is going to make me cry, and sometimes she is going to make me laugh, and all of the time she is going to speak from her heart. I appreciate that kind of honesty.
Today, after giving me three cheers on her blog for helping her with her theme and header (have you all discovered picmonkey yet? Because if not, you need to check it out. It’s awesome.), she talked about how life sometimes travels a different path than we expect.
And this thought has stuck with me. Because it is true, isn’t it? We doggedly try to climb the hill even though our hamstrings are screaming, and rocks are falling on our head, there is a snowstorm, and the bridge is out ahead (okay, maybe it’s not always that dramatic) and finally, finally, after we have been beaten down to the point of misery, we turn around and head on another path, only to discover that the sun is shining here, the road is easier to walk, and this was the way we should have been going all along.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t persevere. Because I am all for determination and moving past challenges. But I’m talking about the times when the door is shut and locked tight and for some reason we insist on banging our head against it in the hopes of breaking it down.
And metaphor aside, I have known my own version of this story.
My husband and I are unable to have children. We spent six years of our marriage trying to make it happen. We saw doctors, we read books, we took pills, we did acupuncture, we discussed scientific procedures and adoption. (That is all a story for another day) At the end of this journey we were left with less than a 1% chance of having children of our own, and a ten-year wait list for adoption. I can’t tell you how many tears have been shed in this process, how many times hope and disappointment intermingled, how many times I kept beating my fists against a closed door.
And yet, there was another path. This path has allowed me to spend so much of my life and time with my dear friend’s dear children whom I love with all of my heart. It allowed me to get to know and love this boy who is gone from this earth, but whose spirit lives on. And when I wake up at night wishing for just one more day to sit by his side, I am ever so thankful for the path that allowed me so much time to spend with him while I could. This path has given me a family I love (both by blood and by choice), a husband who continues to be my best friend, and time to do the things I love best (learning, taking classes, teaching, sewing, writing.)
It is not the path I would have chosen. But I have no doubt in my mind that it is the one I was meant to be on.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
How about you? Has there been a time in your life when you have found that there is joy in taking a different path?Read More