Tag: daisyeyes handmade

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.

Journal: Cultivating a presence

I started this blog as a way to journal, write and share what I was making when my nearly 10 year old daughter was an infant.
I wasn’t writing for comments.
I wasn’t writing because I wanted to link up.
I wasn’t posting because I wanted to get shared all over social media (social media wasn’t even a thing back then).
I just wrote because I needed to and I wanted to.

But then I started selling on Etsy and I started getting hits and the world of blogging exploded. It became a way to frame my day in order to be noticed. And I’ve got a thing with being noticed. That drive to be discovered soon overrode any other drive I had. I realized that I needed to start using my blog platform to help sell the things I was making. And eventually all I was doing was advertising. I upgraded my website, changed my logo a million times and tried to figure out how to use this space less as a journal and a space for me to frame my words and more as a space for me to show off my wares.
The words stopped flowing and as my space here sort of fell apart so did my life.

The last eighteen months has a story that isn’t quite ready to be shared, but these months have totally reframed my life and the idea of presence.

I have spent so much time grieving the past and trying to control the future so much that I have become exhausted with today.

And many of my today’s have worn me down.
But they have worn me down because I’ve been trying to cultivate something that isn’t me. I’ve been neglecting the margins in my life and I’ve been putting aside and ignoring all those things that used to give me space. I’ve jumped from one course to another thinking that it was going to be the thing that would make sense of everything and honestly nothing makes sense right now.

So I am doing the one thing that has always made sense – I’m picking up the scrambled words in my head and trying to lay them down.

To begin with bringing margin into my life, my Etsy shop is changing a little bit for the time being. I’m taking an extended break from any custom embroideries and embroidered shoe orders. It’s a pretty scary move for a lot of reasons, but I feel like it’s the right move. The shop will stay open, but for now it will only have downloadable embroidery patterns and finished hoop art that is ready to ship. I’m also taking a break from teaching sewing classes beyond a couple of adult Saturday classes (one in the Fall and one in the Spring).

I don’t know what this space will look like, but I am hoping to use it as a way to bring my focus back on today and life at hand.

a random update

Life’s been crazy. The blog is totally on the back burner until 2015…but then I have big goals and aspirations. Here’s a few glimpses from the past little while and a few words.

My custom birth announcement design got a lovely shout out from Urban Threads for the use of their animal patterns. I love their patterns and will use them over and over again. They are hip, simple, sweet and honestly they are just a great company to support.

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I’m deep in the throws of a huge commissioned embroidery. This is a double wedding vows embroidery with a little applique in the middle. I’ve got big plans for that tree, but first I’ve got to finish all the text. Almost there.

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I’m wrapping up my last few embroidered shoe orders for the year. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would end up stitching so many pairs of shoes AND loving every minute of it I would have called you a liar. Honestly, it’s this little venture that has really helped me shape the direction I hope to go in the new year.

Custom embroidered TOMS - wedding shoes

One thing I love most is the stories I get to be a part of. For example: this bride requested a sunshine on the side of their shoes because she and her groom met for the first time on a sunrise hike. What a fun way to remember that awesome memory!

Custom embroidered TOMS - wedding shoes

That’s about it for now. Like I said, I’ve got big plans for 2015. It’s been an amazing year for me – learning what I love to do, learning what I don’t love to do and learning how to say no and also how to stick my neck out in big ways. I’m excited for the future and so hopeful.

tree skirt collection 2014

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I’ve wanted to try my hand and designing and making Christmas tree skirts for the past couple of years. This year, I was determined to make it happen. The stocking collection last year honestly had some pretty dismal sales. It did lousy on etsy, lousy in the local boutique and lousy at the markets. I’m still trying to figure that one out, but I’m crossing my fingers the tree skirts hit the big time…well sort of.

All of these skirts measure roughly 48 inches in diameter and are made from red felt. They have a velcro closure down the back/middle. Due to the mix of materials, they cannot be machine washed.

Here’s the details on each one.

The Poinsettia
2014 holiday tree skirt poinsettia version. Hand beaded.

This one is a mix of red, maroon and white felt flowers. The flowers are all machine stitched down and then it is hand beaded for that extra accent.

2014 holiday tree skirt poinsettia version. Hand beaded.

Scandinavian-Mod Ornaments

Harking back to my Norwegian roots I came up with this one based on a vintage skirt that I saw posted on flickr that was merely printed on cotton.

Vintage ornaments skirt

This one has a fun white pom pom trim around the scalloped edge and then felt ornaments are strung with colored ric rac all around the skirt. This skirt is machine sewn all the way around.

Snowflakes

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The last skirt has a beautiful satin snowflake trim along the edge that is machine sewn for durability and then snowflakes and vintage buttons are hand stitched all around the middle for that extra pop.

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I love the simplicity of this skirt and I really think the vintage buttons were the best finishing touch.

You can find all of these skirts in my etsy shop (along with the said stockings and other holiday goodies) now until the end of November. I have limited spots available and the skirts are made to order with about a 2 week turn around.