on fasting from social media

The end of my 40 days is near and it’s been an interesting 40 days. If you are new to this space, I turned 40 back on April 2nd and in celebration of my 40th birthday made a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 41. At the top of that list was a 40 day fast from social media and a break from my etsy shop.

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

I spent the first week finishing up open orders and completing a few other projects that were on a deadline. I have had some other projects that I’ve had to do with a time crunch during these 40 days, but for the most part I’ve spent these days with lots of space. As this time comes to a close, I felt like reflecting on a few of the things I’ve experienced and learned.

1. Fasting from social media (or even just saying no to things and reducing your commitments) is not a magic bullet to clarity. I truly had this expectation that when I removed some of these temptations I would automatically feel refreshed. So not true. Silencing all this extra “noise” in my life was truly refreshing at first, but it hasn’t been until the last week or so that I’ve really started to feel (and I hesitate to use the world feel) some clearing in my mind.

2. Removing something from your life truly makes you realize how often you run to it. Removing the mindlessness of facebook and even instagram I realized how much I went to it just to veg out. It was shocking to me how many times I would be working (like truly working) on the computer and find myself done with that I was working on and start to check out facebook or blogs. While the clarity didn’t come right away, the extra time in my day to find other ways to relax came on day one.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

3. I had to admit completely that I got a lot of good feelings (think the Norweigian dude from Frozen – “lutefisk for gud feelings?” only in my case say “social media for gud feelings?) from checking instagram and facebook for likes and comments. I really think I was in this place where I was sewing, stitching, creating etc merely because I was using it as a means to making myself feel good. And it led to a very quick burnout and creative depression.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

 

4. Take a break is a good thing. I really do think I was in a horrible creative depression. While I found myself able to design things as people were bringing ideas to me – there was little happening in the way of just my own open expression. I have to say that I’ve had such an amazing break and putting my shop on vacation for these 40 days has been so good for me. There has been great clarity and free-ness of mind when it has come to seeing art in the world around me and being able to express that. I really don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t taken a break. Everyone finds a slump in their work at periods of time no matter what their work is. That’s the whole reason we have a Sabbath! A weekly point of rest for us. It’s why vacations are so refreshing at times.

 

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

5. Social media isn’t all bad – there is community there. I have to say that I have missed my stitching community on instagram so much. I’ve missed seeing what other people are stitching, having conversations with other makers and just the encouragement that I do find there. I’m super excited to jump back in and the same for facebook. There are people on there that I don’t ever get to see and I do love seeing their faces and I’ve missed that. I guess ultimately it’s all a matter of using it wisely and with balance.

 

dragonfly - Flying Menagerie @ Urban Threads

 

I’ve been in a book study these last few months reading Tara Owen’s book Embracing the Body. I’m still wrestling through my thoughts on it, but in essence it’s about being awake to the world around us. Probably my favorite part of this book so far is what she wrote about creativity and making.

creation is the act that declares the physical world and can bear the weight of glory – glory expressed through us, in us and with us. Glory manifest through beauty…{the idea that} simple threads can be redeemed to physically bear messages of goodness and kindness.

Last year at this time I was really wrestling with being real. With taking a jump and being brave. I had read a  speech that Roosevelt had given about stepping into the arena. Not just being a spectator, but being brave and taking that jump. I’ve been amazingly blessed and I’m so glad that I did take the jump last year. But now, I am moving more towards being alive and aware of why I’m creating and for whom. There is nothing I love more than running my hands over something that I’ve just stitched up. I am always amazed that simple threads can be combined with stitches to make a picture of something. And I want the work of my hands to be nothing more than a message of goodness and kindness.

**photos are of a dragonfly embroidery I just finished. Pattern is from Urban Threads and it will be available in the shop soon!

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following your heart’s cry

Without a doubt, every Spring I start to go into panic mode. All the local school systems start hiring for the next year, our tax return money has run out and I start to seriously doubt what I’m doing. I convince myself that what I need to be doing is working in a “regular” job and earning “regular” income for our family. And so, every spring I apply for jobs and every spring for the past 5 years absolutely. nothing. happens.

a pocket full of thankfuls

All of this makes me question and doubt and struggle and end up frustrated and in need of a massage…weekly.
But this Spring it’s made me ask myself “why do you keep striving for the thing that isn’t really the cry of your heart?”
And I think it’s a super hard thing when the cry of your heart changes.
And even harder when you are truly able to do the thing that your heart cries out for.

For nearly ten years I taught special education. I worked at residential schools for the deaf and in public school systems and I absolutely loved it. I have amazing memories of all my years teaching and I cherish all that time. And at that time, it really was the cry of my heart to teach these students and move and work within a school. To sit and work on communication skills with a sweet little girl named Lilli. To watch Tanner draw square by square the latest movie was obsessed with. And to joke around with Connor as he wheeled himself around and asked for things he couldn’t have with his Dynavox.

But, as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that this is still the cry of my heart – it isn’t. I’m so thankful for all the closed doors that repeatedly have never opened because I truly think it’s taken this long for my stubborn heart to admit it.

Vintage embroidery contest 2014

I read a really great post this week by Abby Glassenberg about becoming a writer. How she never really thought of herself as a writer and I’m sure she never thought into the future she would be impacting so many with her words. It’s that weird thing when you start doing what you thought you never really would do and it ends up being the thing you wanted to do all along.

I never, ever thought I would remotely be considered an artist. And I still have a really hard time considering that what I do with a needle, thread and a hoop is art – but I’m coming around to the fact that it is and I am. I never thought that I could take a hobby like sewing and combine it with what I know about classrooms and consider myself a teacher – just not one in the “traditional” sense. But I am.

I am working to embrace what the cry of my heart is right now. I know the experiences that bring me alive and excited and I’m beyond humbled that I’m able to pursue those. My business has undergone so many rabbit trails and changes over the last couple of years and I’ve never fully embraced it. I’ve kept on the edge of it, treating more like a fun little hobby and a way to bring in a little bit of money for dance lessons and field trips. I’ve ignored that part of me that goes crazy over planning and designing and making. And I have come to realize how difficult it is to be an “artist” and think of it as a real job. No, not a job that brings in gobs of money, but a career none the less.

Today I had a a business lunch with two women I had never met. A friend set it up for me and encouraged me to go if only to make connections. It was amazing. Nothing big happened, but it was amazing to sit and talk and be moving in a direction that I am supposed to be going. It was a learning experience to be sure, but I realized sitting at that table that this, this is the cry of my heart and what an amazing thing to be able to follow it.

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taking stock…

Welcome March… and even though it’s supposed to rain all week, I’m super excited to see the number 60 in the temperatures 🙂

This little list was much harder than I thought it would be. But here goes: my attempt at taking stock on the right now.

Making : custom hand embroidered wedding vows
Cooking : homemade strawberry cereal bars (fail)
Drinking : nothing – although I need another cup of coffee right about now
Reading: Whose Body by Dorothy Sayer (so…slow…need…to..keep…reading…)
Wanting: a new Bosch stand mixer
Looking: at stupid stuff on the internet
Playing: Drew Holcomb – Medicine
Deciding: What we are going to do for our staycation during spring break next week
Wishing: That the sun would shine 🙂
Enjoying: The last few minutes before I have to pick up my kiddos
Waiting: For 2 appointments this week regarding my chick that I’m hoping will help us make some decision regarding her health and her schooling for next year
Liking: quietness (this is a themed yes…)
Wondering: what this Spring is going to be like
Loving: Trader Joes rice crackers
Pondering: how to balance all I want to do with all I have to do
Considering: homeschooling my chick next year
Buying: groceries (I feel like that’s all I buy)
Watching: Downton Abbey (and I’m kind of glad it’s almost over)
Hoping: I might see the sun tomorrow
Marvelling: the goodness of Jesus
Cringing: at the laundry I need to fold
Needing: to do more laundry
Questioning: if I should walk to get the kids or be lazy and drive
Smelling: my stinky dog
Wearing: my coat (because I’m COLD!)
Following: lots of new blogs lately
Noticing: that I do too much noticing
Knowing: that I need to slow down and savor more
Thinking: about how to manage my catch up to do list this week
Admiring: a web friend of mine who is launching something new and I’m eager to see it!
Sorting: my house – always sorting my house
Getting: ready to walk out the door and finish out this afternoon and evening (homework, dance, dinner and then bed!)
Bookmarking: lots of recipes
Coveting: my new fridge that is supposed to be here on Wednesday!!
Disliking: slow drivers
Opening: a package of supplies for my latest project
Giggling: over the silly jokes from last night
Feeling: a little overwhelmed – a little tired – but also a bit revived
Snacking: trying to lay off the carbs and snack on more fruit
Comforting: myself with some chocolate
Wishing: we could take a trip to the beach
Helping: my chick get ready for dance without screaming at her! 🙂
Hearing: the hum of the heater and dishwasher running

 

Feel free to cut and paste and share your own taking stock list. I got this list from Meet Me at Mikes

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on creativity

I saw this video posted on a blog and just had to share.

I’ve been on etsy for a long time, but I have been doing this gig “full time” for the last 2.5 years. When I look back at where I started I can definitely see where my work was lousy and not at all what I was intending. I can see where I am now and be excited that I’m closer to the vision I had in my head way back when, but I am still not where I want to be with my craft. This video was so true and such encouragement. But I do think it expands to all walks of life – not just the creative process. I think there is so much of our life that we expect to be perfect right away and that so not possible. It’s that idea of not giving up the expectation and hope of what we want that makes all the difference. To keep moving forward to achieve that thing we are looking for. That also means we take out the idea of comparison. Everyone’s journey is different and everyone’s pace is different too. We just need to embrace that journey and enjoy looking back at where we’ve come from and be excited about where we are and where we are headed.

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random thoughts

I posted a few days ago about this new incentive system we are attempting in our house, only to realize that often times what we think is the most simple thing really isn’t so simple. We are working out the kinks and it’s always such a shocker what works well with one kiddo is a major fail with the other one.

Speaking of kids, this is a fabulous article regarding education and learning via The Washington Post. It’s actually a response to an original article and I can’t tell you how much the description of one of the kids in the article is spot on with our youngest. We are learning so much through walking her story and it’s articles like this one that are so encouraging to me as we seek to make the best choices for her.

Our family watched The Box Trolls this past weekend and it was super clever. I will warn you that there’s a bit of a scene with the villain and an allergic reaction that he has. For us it was somewhat a good life lesson as this is what happens to our chick when she ingests peanuts. In the end, I love the message: you don’t have to be who people say you are.

 

Obviously the Super Bowl was last night and honestly one of my favorite commercials was the Coke commercial. Having an almost 12 year old in the house we are diving head first into this world of technology and bullying. I love the simplicity of how all it takes is changing a few words and the meanness that you meant can be changed to goodness.

 

 

 

I had the highlight of my life this weekend so far…I’m finally “published” in a sense! I designed and wrote a project tutorial for The Whippercrafter online magazine. It was so much fun to put together and then crazy to see all my photos and words transformed into this great article. I can’t wait to work on the next one and I’m so thankful to Rebel Craft Media for the opportunity. Get your copy now! It’s filled with all sorts of great projects!

 

Here’s a few glimpses of some projects I recently completed:

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Jesus Storybook Bible quote ... Always and forever love 2015 version in turquoise

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One of my greatest goals this year is to increase the amount of garment sewing I’m doing. Yesterday I worked again on trying to finish a pair of Collette Pattern Jeans and again hit such a snafu. So I decided that I would throw together something brainless and sewed a nightgown for my daughter. I’ve had this fabric for like 2 years and good thing I sewed this gown now because the pattern is about too small!

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Hope you all have a great week!!!

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