Year in Review 2016

2016 was a year. I can’t say it was the worst year, which many people are saying about 2016. But I can say that it was a continuation of some of the hardness that 2015 had brought into my life. In many ways 2016 seemed like a gap year for me – an in between time where I really sort of woke up and started processing some stuff. It’s been a year where I have really had to step back and look at each decision and choice I make and figure out how it impacts me and our family, instead of just jumping ahead. It was a year where I did step back on my shop and really curbed my spending when it came to product development. There were (and are) so many things I would love to do, but for us financially right now I’ve realized I can’t step out and continue to do that.

It was a year that did see me finally stepping out to try and follow the dream of opening a store front. For years I had talked about opening a sewing shop and this spring I actually moved forward on that. I had prayed all along that God would very obviously open and close doors and I knew that no matter what happened I just had to see it through. I met with a small business advisor and met with bankers and in the end realized that I had followed that dream as far as I could take it. For the first time setting that dream aside was easy because I had followed it as far as I could take it. It was clearly a closed door and months later I’m so thankful. I learned so much in the process about business, about where I want to go creatively and how our life really works.

It was the first holiday season where I honestly wasn’t slammed and I did that on purpose. I stopped taking custom embroidery orders really early on and even though I did participate in a holiday market, it was the most relaxing holiday market prep I’ve ever done. I made stuff that I loved to make and it made such a huge difference.

I started a few projects this year that I’m really hoping to jump on right away after the holidays. First up I want to get back to my stumpwork projects. I miss this creative stitching so much and I’ve got so many ideas and ways I want to continue with my bugs and bugs in jars series. I also want to finally go forward with designing a pattern that comes with video links. I’m hoping to get going on this early in 2017 with my flower garden hoop I stitched back in the Fall. If there’s any goal I have for my shop in 2017, it’s to offer more embroidery patterns, more how-tos that go along with those patterns and oh how I would love to learn how to screen print so that I can print my own patterns and finally start offering kits again.

I am not sure where I’m heading with custom embroidery in 2017. For now, all of it will be on hold until I really get a clear picture of where I want to go. That includes shoes. I’ve often wondered how much longer the shoe thing can keep going. It seemed so much like a trend and we all know how trends go. I kind of want to go out on a high note and stop on my own terms. I’m also not sure where I’m going with teaching sewing either. Both of these things have played such a huge role in my life for the past few years and it’s weird to say I’m going to stop doing them. But there’s a part of me that thinks that for now, those chapters might be closed for a while so that I can focus on some other things.

 

One of my greatest achievements this year was being published! I was super excited to have a project in the Sew it All magazine. It was crazy to see my stuff actually on the shelf in bookstores. Maybe one day I’ll have an actual book or something! I’ve got some new things coming my way in 2017 that I’m excited about and can’t wait to share as the details get more and more worked out.

 

Probably my biggest joy in 2017 has been being able to continue homeschooling. We ended our last week of school with a Christmas Poetry Teatime with friends and as I sat around the table and saw this amazing community of friends that God has gifted my daughter and myself with I am humbled. We’ve joined a community of like minded schoolers and I couldn’t be more overjoyed at how God is continuing to grow that. We’ve got plans for 2017 that I’m hoping come to fruition and every day I’m grateful that I’m able to stay home.

One of my biggest goals in 2017 is to start writing again. I’m processing through in my mind some ways to clear some of the clutter in my head so that I can start putting some words to paper (or type). I want to spend more time actually reading books and not just reading snippets and blog posts. And I want to finally move forward on this book I’ve got floating around in my head. I read an essay this week by CS Lewis about writing for children and it was the biggest encouragement to me. He said something along the lines that his stories always came from pictures in his head. He would see all these scenes and ideas all jumbled up in his head and that is where his stories came from. As he started writing he would just have to fill in the blanks in between the pictures. Now, I’m never going to be the next CS Lewis, but for someone who has had these pictures floating around her head so vividly for years it was the kick in the pants to finally start penning them down.

Local Makers: The Hive Shoppe

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The Hive is a local place in Knoxville TN that is home to some pretty awesome local business ladies and is a dreamy event location.

I’ve long hoped to do an embroidery workshop there – alas life keeps getting in the way.

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A few times a year they set up a shoppe filled with local makers of all kinds and I’m excited to be part of their Holiday Shoppe again this year.

It’s a super relaxing and beautiful place to shop – and knowing that you are supporting local makers is even all the better.

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The Hive is located on Central Avenue on the same block as Magpies (stop and get a yummy cupcake while you are down there!)

Come out and shop THIS Friday through Sunday!

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Embroidery: Christmas is Coming!

I’m honestly still reeling over the fact that it’s November and I know I’m going to blink and it will be Thanksgiving. I went back and forth for the last few months trying to decide if I was going to do any holiday markets or not and finally decided to try the Holiday Shoppe at The Hive again. It’s such a great venue and so well run that why wouldn’t I?

The sale is at The Hive on Central, December 9-11, 2016.

Here’s a peek at a few of the things I’m trying to pull together for the event.

my mini ornament collection for 2016
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Mini wreath ornaments (and I’m hoping to work on a set of some a little bit larger – these measure about 2 inches)
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And these guys… my own take on the elf on the shelf
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I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve that I’m hoping to get together too.

 

And just a reminder – I’ve got 3 custom portrait spots left for 2016!
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Embroidery: What’s Been On My Hoop Lately

My embroidery work has slowed down a fair amount the last few months – which honestly isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t pay as well, but it does reduce my stress so maybe it pays in a more relaxed mom. šŸ™‚

Here’s a few things I have been working on:

A set of custom do-live-be-give hoops for a friend
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I love how these turned out. We had some snafus with our thread colors, but finally we got it all worked out. These are an 8 inch version based off my smaller 6 inch hoops. She also requested a set of four (versus the original three) so we came up with “give love” which I thing is an awesome addition. I’m hoping to offer these as a pattern in 2017 with both the smaller and larger versions to choose from.

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The wreath is made up of a bundle of hand dyed threads and beaded threads from Nells Embroidery which I couched down around the satin stitched and backstitched text. Nell is amazing to work with and is pretty much always my go-to when it comes to bundles of amazing threads.

Custom Portraits
I worked on a couple of custom portraits too – even trying my hand at some little pups!

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and some braids with a cool hat:

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New Pattern!!
And if you are looking for some holiday sewing I finally got my holiday scroll tree pattern up and in the shop. I’ve been wanting to draft this pattern for years and finally made it happen this year! This is a great pattern for beginners and advanced embroiderers alike. It has 3 types of stitches and is finished off with some fun vintage buttons as ornaments.

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Embroidery: Free Form Flowers

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After working so many months on my Jars Series, I needed a more simple project. I decided to work on my embroidered flowers techniques so I grabbed some fabric and a hoop and just started stitching. I started out with this one group of flowers in the middle – practicing some stem stitches, working with different numbers of threads and then laying lazy daisy stitches on top of one another.

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Then I started adding some random little yellow flowers (really a mix of lazy daisies and brick stitches) and some woven wheel roses.

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At that point I went online and started nosing around at some floral illustrations for some flower and leaf ideas. The rest of the hoop is an amalgamation of those ideas. Probably my favorite of the whole group is the leaf vine on the left side. I stitched this by couching down some strands of wool embroidery floss and then adding some satin stitched leaves.

I had some fun with my macro lense when I was done and took some super close ups. It’s crazy to see the fibers and your stitches at such a close up range!

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The hoop measures 8 inches and is stitched on this faux white linen. I used a mix of standard divisible cotton floss – with different divisions – and some d’Aubusson wool threads. I’m working on transferring this to a pretty intensive embroidery pattern plus maybe a private video series. Embroidered flowers are all the rage and honestly are one of the most rewarding things to stitch – and the ideas are limitless. Kind of like nature!

Embroidery: Sew It All 10

I’ve got a project in the new Sew It All magazine this month.

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It was actually printed in the latest Sew News and in Sew It All. Check it out on newstands now.