Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Begining of the End

I started quilting my lovely linen quilt last night.... its slow going - I'm trying to be extra careful so that I don't have any wrinkles in the backing.  I currently dont' have a quilting frame to stretch and baste my quilts on, so I duct tape them to the floor and do the best that I can.  Last night I got about an eighth done, and it looks gorgeous!

As I'm still a beginner (albeit on the high end - this will be my 7th quilt) I'm just using the  stitch-in-the-ditch method - even if I felt comfortable trying a pattern I think I would still use this method though.  It lends itself towards the feeling of simplicity that I am going for.

E's bed and cranes.  You can read more about them here
Another reason progress is slow is the fact that my daughters share a room, and my 21 month old isn't in a crib anymore.  we took a side rail off to try and keep her from just climbing out like the little monkey she thinks she is.  Why does this matter you ask?  Bedtime is now mayhem and madness, short from tying them both down to their bed I'm totally out of ideas of how to keep them in their room and preferably in their beds. 

Every night, we do the routine - we read books, say prayers, turn out the lights and chat for a bit so they can tell me about their day.  I kiss them goodnight and walk out of the room.  And then the fun begins.  For the next two hours I either have to hold their door closed, or like last night, sit down to my sewing machine (I need to give that thing a name) just to get up every five minutes because I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet and giggles.  Inevitably Mommy turns into an ogre, there are tears (from all parties involved) and the girls fall asleep in a bedroom that looks like a tornado ripped through it since I put them to bed - on beds with no covers... you get the picture.  It drives me batty, it makes me sad, it makes mornings less than fun and it cuts into my precious, creative, "me" time.  Call me selfish if you will, but trust me - I'm a much happier person (and mom) if I get that time.

But, despite the obstacles I was able to spend a blissful two hours last night, working on my creation and listening to Peony in Love by Lisa See on my Kindle.  If you haven't read her books I highly recomend them - I've read, and loved them all.  As I sit there and work, listening to something so emotionally charged it led me to understand something about my work - and that I've read about in articles about pricing your work.  I pour so much emotion into my work - and this quilt hasn't been any exception, that I have grown to love it.  Before I put it away in its basket last night I wrapped it around me (getting stuck by a safety pin in my side in the process) and felt the comfort that quilts offer.  But I felt even more than usual (and no, it wasn't pain or the blood dripping down my side), I felt all the love I've poured into it - linen is more difficult than cotton to work with so it has taken more time than any other quilt I've made.  I felt the added wieght that the linen offers, and the odd (but wonderful) sensation it gives.  It is cool, warm, smooth and rough all at the same time.  As I am begining to finish this quilt I am excited to see the finished product, but I am also sad because it hopefully will be going to a new home.  And yet I secretly hope that it won't.  That no one will want it - because of the attachment I feel to it now.

I used to feel guilt and some doubt when I considered the price I would charge for this quilt.  But after last night, reflecting on how much time I spent into searching out used and discarded linen clothing with life still in it, cutting out the pieces, piecing it together, the endless ironing at every stage, etc... combined with the attachment I've developed - I don't feel guilty at all.

I saw a quote a while ago "quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten".  I want this quilt to go to someone who is willing to pay my price because I want them to value it like I do.  People talk every day about finding the best bargin, but I wonder if they value items that they get for the lowest price or if they just subconsciously think it doesn't matter if they don't care for it because it won't cost them so much to replace it.

here is a treasury with a smattering of one of a kind items
on etsy.  To see more click here.
 My work - and the work of  others on Etsy is one of a kind.  Nothing is mass produced, it should be valued for the individual attention it has been given and the soul that has been poured into it.  All of this said and considered though, the artists on Etsy are probably all underpaid if you look at the hours they spend on a product and what they end up getting paid for it.  I could ramble on and on about this subject but I'll rein myself in (today anyway).  But just consider this thought for a moment.  If I paid myself hourly for this quilt, factored in the cost of materials and then wanted to make a 20% profit I would have to charge somewhere around $1,200.  I'm only going to charge about a quarter of that - so really it is a bargin.  Just chew on that thought for a bit next time you are looking for a bargin on Etsy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Small Milestones

I know it isn't a huge deal... but it kind of is :)

My little mobile made pintrest!

front and center!  I circled it in red if you were having a hard time finding it...

I looked at my shop stats this week and saw that I had some traffic from Pintrest.  I did a litle search and viola!

Anyway, now that Christmas has come and gone I can turn the focus to Worthen's again I'm pretty excited, I just need to find a brown linen dress or a couple pairs of slacks at the thrift store so I can make the binding, I should be done within the next week or so! 

Pictures are pretty much done for everything in the shop, I just need to get them off my camera!

Speaking of Christmas, I can't even describe the mad fear that overtook me the last couple weeks.  I know most people really worry about the money aspect, but that wasn't even my biggest issue.  I look forward to December all year and then when it finally comes I am just scrambling to make everything perfect like I want it to be.

Lovely rustic Christmas decor by Martha Stewart
  So, this year I'm trying something different.  I'm taking a break until February 1st, when I start my Christmas Club account at the bank (it is a term desposit that you matures November 1st every year).  Then I will also be starting to make Christmas cards & tags (I didn't send out and cards this year and my wrapping wasn't very exciting.  I know it sounds dumb, but it matters to me), I'm going to write down what we want to do this next year (Christmas light excursions, polar express in Heber, etc)

Cute little houses made out of natural materials,
Also by Martha Stewart

I'm also going to start on my homemade gifts  in the next couple months so that November doesn't hit and I'm just barely deciding to make two quilts, do a sketch, make a cloth playhouse, paint a ceremanic nativity, church and house, and do a canvas painting.  Didn't bode well for my sanity this last year.  So hopefully, next December will hit and I can sit back, relax, enjoy the season, and be martha for one month a year.  That is really all I'm asking!!

What I'm realizing more and more as the time goes by is that my entire year revolves around Christmas.  Birthdays are great, I'm kind of "meh" when it comes to other holidays, but Christmas is... magical, meanigful, fun and it is my goal to make not only little kids jump up and down and squeal with excitement, I also want to see the lights turn on in the eyes of "grown-ups".  it shouldn't cease to be magical just because the cruel realization that parents place presents under the tree and not Santa.  I think when we go out of our way to make Christmas personal in the decor, and in the gifts that are lovingly selected and (hopefully) a suprise when they are opened it really opens something in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Still here

As much as I love the holiday season it sure tuckers me out.  I'm still around... progress has kind of halted though, until Christmas and then I'll be able to find more time to post something a little more informative and entertaining.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jumping the gun...

Just a note... I've put two spoons up in my shop.  I'm not good at waiting so I guess I'm kind of open now, but my quilt and the other big items won't be up until January 14th.

You can see the available items in my shop in the little window on the left from craft cult

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fairy Tales

With the end of the Autumn and Thanksgiving season and the opening of the Christmas season I have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to.  My shop is scheduled to open in 38 or so days and while I’m still a scared little rabbit I’m also that thoroughbred chomping on the bit ready to prove myself. 

Josh and A wandering about in
a picnic area in Central Utah

 I’ve been so happy and grateful that reintroducing art into my life has not complicated my schedule or added any more stress onto my shoulders, as I discussed in a previous post it actually lifted some of that stress from me.  But I think my greatest blessing, my greatest asset is my family.  I have two daughters A & E (for their protection and my peace of mind I’ll just refer to them by their first initials) who are healthy, smart, and even though they have a stubborn and sometimes rebellious streak in them (how could they not, they are my kids!) – they are sweet, empathic, social and generous.  I really can’t ask for much more.  But most of all I am so overwhelmingly grateful for my husband.  The man is patient, loving, sensitive, smart, strong and supportive.  I honestly could not do what I do what I do on a daily basis without him. 

Every day I listen to the men I work with complain about their wives, about how much money they spend, about the time they spend on hobbies, about how their cooking isn’t sufficient, etc  and it just embodies the very reason why ten years ago I would have told you that I never wanted to be married.  I knew that so many girls were just expecting a prince to sweep them off their feet and live happily ever after and I just had absolutely no faith in that vision.

Beautiful Solitare ring at Wrought Gold
on Etsy.  Check out the listing here 

  I didn’t want to be married to someone who would tell me what to do, criticize me and not allow me to be myself.  It took a few years but Josh showed me that it isn’t like that for everyone, that with a selfless attitude, love  and a “mend it, don’t end it” attitude that the fairy tale kind of love is a very real thing.
I see myself as a very flawed creature, I suffer from depression and anxiety, I’ve ran the entire gamut of eating disorders in the past decade, and I have a plethora of random health issues; despite all of that he seems to think that I’m perfect, he enjoys watching me work on my projects, admires the finished product and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, pledging his support to whatever I want to do. 

Failure is always a possibility when one begins on a journey like this, and I fear failure almost above all else.  I don’t think I’m alone in that either, we are taught from such a young age that failure is bad instead of looking at it as a learning experience.  Without the proper support system I just don’t think it is possible for most people to take the nerve-wracking leap to start a small business.  While I need to thank my mother for always running out with me and helping me buy supplies for my latest hobby, and the art teachers who taught me with such enthusiasm. 

one of my favorite pictures of Josh and I

 But, more than any of them my most valuable support is my wonderful husband because I know he will always support me, if I want to quit he will remind me why it is important to me and if this does turn out to be a complete and utter flop he will still love me and will point out the positives – the lessons I learned.  He will encourage me to redirect my energy and try something else.  I don’t think anything is more valuable to a budding shop owner.  Everyone needs that person behind them who believes in them 100% and helps to tame the fear, and if the unthinkable happens will comfort them and help them heal.  Thank you my love.  For the unconditional love and support you show me.  For telling me when we were dating to disagree with you, to stand up for myself and taught me to have the confidence to look people in the eye to listen to their doubt and sometimes discouraging words but follow my heart anyways.