Although I have been crafting for as long as I can remember, I have not always been a cross stitcher. I have been a quilter, a crocheter, and a crafter for years, but cross stitch is fairly new to me.
I started cross stitching when my oldest daughter was about 6 months old. You know, when they start needing more attention than just making sure they are loved, fed, rested, and changed. In those beginning days I could still quilt and sew to my hearts content (as long as I scheduled it during naptime). One day I found myself frustrated that my little sweetheart was not longer going to let me live my life the way that I had planned. Life was up to her now. I needed something to feed my crafty bug, that I could put down and pick back up easily. No extra set-up and cleanup. Not having to be worried about losing my spot or count while I finish a row of crochets while she screamed for something.
I found cross stitch. My friend Shannon posted on her Instagram a picture of a project she was working on, it was a Frosted Pumpkin pattern called Pumpkin Passport. “What an adorable thing to put in a little girl’s room” I thought as I immediately bought the pattern and the kit for it online. Time to teach myself a new craft/skill. I started working on it the second it got in my hands and I was right, this was a great craft to pick up and put down while my little one demanded my attention.
Then I fell down the flosstube rabbit hole. I was tempted by other gorgeous patterns and designers. I couldn’t just work on this one project!! My WIP (work-in-progress) list grew and grew. I changed my preference on fabrics to work on and Pumpkin Passport got pushed to the wayside.
After numerous starts and finishes I finally decided to get back to what brought me to this craft and get it finished! I completed it on December 9th last year.
I seem to be going through another season of the women around me having children and after sending a couple of messages to my cousin I started thinking about how I always seem to pass the same things along to my pregnant friends and family. The advice I give to soon-to-be first time moms can seem a bit off to others. I’m not trying to come off as negative or scary, I’m not trying to freak them out, I’m trying to give them tools that no one ever gave me (I don’t blame this on anyone, I just want my friends and family to know what I experienced so they know I am there for them).
Getting close with baby #1 (2015)
People seem to like to say “get your sleep now, you won’t sleep once the baby comes.” Please DO NOT tell this to a 9-months pregnant woman who has been sleeping sitting up for the past three months because her heartburn is so bad, or who has tossed and turned all night every night for the past two months because she is both incredibly freaked out and totally uncomfortable. Pregnant women might be the most gracious and polite creatures on this planet, and to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure how we do it. Perhaps responding to these types of comments is the practice that we are getting to deal with tiny tyrant toddlers. We bite our tongues to keep the sassy comments at bay and smile at those who supply them. Sometimes it slips out that we aren’t really sleeping well at the moment either, but it is usually rather politely. Which is surprising given we are trying to deal with the fact that we just don’t want to be pregnant anymore but are simultaneously scared to death of both the actual delivery of our child and the aftermath that comes with it.
Do you want to be helpful? Tell that woman the truth!
Tell her about the time you cried because your husband came home after work and asked you what you did today. You know what I did when my sweet husband asked me that when he came home to me and our sweet two-month-old? I bawled and said “nothing.” I truly felt like I had not done a thing that day. In between feedings, changes, trying to get a little sleep during her naps, and realizing that if I tried to do anything that took more than five minutes she would wake/need food/need a change while I was trying to get said thing accomplished. So rather than get frustrated that I was unable to complete tasks I wouldn’t start them. I would take a quick scroll through my phone, or put on a movie I had seen a million times before and zone out. My sweet sweet husband hugged me, kissed my forehead, wiped my tears and reminded me that I had kept our daughter alive and healthy ALL DAY and that she could not have done that on her own. (Of course, all of your days can’t be like that, life must go on, but some days, its okay if that is all that happens AND this was with my first, adjusting to new mom life is tough, and yes, when the second one comes around, you don’t get to just care for your child all day, your attention is demanded elsewhere).
Tell her about your struggles with nursing, about how you had to visit a lactation consultant. How it hurt so bad every time at the beginning of nursing that you cried through the first minute on each side, and that the second the baby was done you dreaded the next session. Let her know, she is not alone, and that the next week she will be an expert and it won’t hurt anymore (and if it still does, something is wrong and call her doctor). Encourage her not to give up. Give her hope.
Tell her these things BEFORE she has the baby, while her brain is clear, while she can remember that you said them, so that she knows to reach out to you when she is feeling bad/scared/crappy. In our world of happy Instagram and facebook photos it is sometimes hard to admit when things aren’t perfect it can be hard to ask for help and its hard to see what is normal.
Perhaps I am jaded, maybe this isn’t helpful at all and I will come off as super negative, but, please think a bit before you give advice to a soon-to-be-mom or any mom for that matter. We try to let go of the fears and pain we’ve felt in our lives and are often successful in forgetting those moments. That is how we get through life in general, we focus on the good things, and when it comes to our parenting life, the amazing children we have brought into this world. Try to remember what it was like when you didn’t have a clue what you were getting into. What would you have liked to have known the most? What is the most helpful thing anyone told you going into this major life event.
Being on maternity leave has been great, I put my etsy shop in vacation mode and kicked my butt into gear preparing for our new baby’s arrival. I was pretty dang sure I was going to have this baby early so I stressed myself into super nesting mode and got everything for baby done… and then… the waiting started. We still aren’t at my official due date yet, but with the house all ready to go I started getting bored.
So I made a deal with myself. I could list things in my shop that were ready to ship and no custom orders. That, my friends, is how I have spent the last 3 days at my sewing machine (in between walks to try to get baby to drop and bouncing on my birthing ball) and was able to pull my shop our of vacation mode even though we are expecting a baby in the next week or two.
Since colleges all over the US are about to start up I figured I would focus on my sorority themed pillows. I currently have pillows that represent 4 of the many houses in the greek system. The next two days I plan on designing at least two more so that I can represent some more of the Greek System.
Yesterday I had a few hours to spare and a piece of furniture that no longer fit in our newly remodeled bedroom. This nightstand has been in our house for around 6 years or maybe more, belonged to two different people in this house and lived in 3 different rooms. I love the functionality of it (its a great place for my bedside books and with two drawers it helps keep down the appearance of clutter). I really wanted to keep it in our room even though it didn’t match. Sooo… time for a makeover. The only thing I purchased was a can of spray paint to work as a base coat. I removed the hardware and got to work spraying. Trying to get coverage with spray paint in a semi breezy backyard was tough, but it worked. After the spray paint dried I used leftover trim paint to get it looking the way I wanted, let it dry, put the hardware back on… and BAM! Brand new end table that looks nice in our bedroom.
My anchor pillows have been a fairly successful item in my etsy shop and I have sent quite a few of them to sorority houses across the US. Being an alumni of a sorority myself I thought that I should create a pillow for the ladies of Phi Sigma Sigma, the sorority that helped my 4 years in college to be some of the best years of my life. I have more plans to represent more sororities in my shop but I think that these will be the last two pillows posted in my shop until February as I have two ribbon rose bouquet orders to fill.
In addition to the pillows I am also participating in a block of the month quilt project hosted by Jennifer over at Sewhooked called Paper Piecing Vintage. My background fabric is Kona Solids Bone and my fabrics are all vintage inspired. Here are my fabrics and my finished January block, it’s called The King’s Crows.
I am really happy with how it turned out. My anchor pillows have been such a fun part of my shop and the color and fabric combinations are endless. I still haven’t gotten tired of stitching those anchors so it looks like there are still more to come!
My husband works at a Tiki bar, I work at a tikiish restaurant and we have recently adopted a lot of tiki decor for our home so when Michael requested a new aloha shirt I wasn’t surprised. This year Jo-Ann’s released quite a few Star Wars prints over the last year or so and this print is my absolute favorite. I had brought home the blue blueprint version to make something for myself and my husband was a little jealous and requested a shirt made from it instead of making something for myself. I told him I had another fabric in mind for him. I went back to Jo-Ann’s and picked up this fabric along with McCalls Pattern 2149 and some super cool coconut looking buttons and got to work.
I was a little apprehensive to use the pattern as the pictures on the front of it seemed a little “early nineties” and I was worried that it wouldn’t fit him correctly or that it would be bulky in odd places. I used his measurements along with some other shirts that he has at home to make sure that the size I was making would fit him well. Michael requested that his shirt be ready for our anniversary trip to Las Vegas so that he could wear his shirt to one of our most favorite tiki bars, Frankie’s Tiki Room. This pattern was actually really simple to make and I easily finished it in two days. I will definitely be making more with this pattern. Michael’s one complaint is that the slits on the side come up a bit high so I will be shortening them on the next shirt.
Wow! It has been almost 5 months since I last posted here. I really need to learn not to neglect my blog. I had a really busy (well, busy for me) season with my etsy shop. I have quite a few ideas in the pipe and will be posting at least one new fabric combination for my anchor pillows in the next month. After that it will be new designs! I can’t wait!
This holiday season I only handmade ONE gift! I cannot believe that was all I managed to get completed. Luckly I wasn’t planning on too many handmade gifts this year so I didn’t stress myself out or disappoint myself. What I did manage to make though, was this awesome mustache pillow for my teenaged niece. She loved it and I had a blast making it. The three mustache patterns are included as part of the TWELVE different mustaches that Jennifer from Sewhooked created for her Mustachio pattern.
The shop is not too far from my home and filled with pieces from a lot of amazing local artists. In addition to the retail space that I have they have a lot of craft fairs/events which I will also eventually have an opportunity to participate in. I feel like this is such an important step and experiment for me. I am moving in the exact right direction that I want to be moving. The space is affordable for me and will really be a fantastic testing ground for my products.
I hope to figure out a way to display my onesies in the shop as well, but for right now it will just be the pillows that I am selling there. I have been searching and searching for a way to display them in smaller spaces. They do have a larger space available now… but I just don’t know. I have so many onesie designs and so many different sizes. The retail space does not have a place to stock additional sizes to have on hand so I would have to really pick through my designs to figure out which to feature in the shop.
Stocking my retail space had me cleaned out all of the pillows from my home/etsy shop inventory, so I spent an entire day sewing like mad trying to get some more pillows made up. I managed five pillows in three different styles. They will be posted in the next week with the new month being here and with my “Daily Listing/Re-listing Challenge.”
Thanks to my lovely sister I have a brand new logo! Check it out! I could not be happier. This coming month should show some new and exciting things for me including selling in an actual brick and mortar store.
I’ve already got some new items ready to go for my etsy shop as well.
In January I attempted a new listing every day. I only made it with 10 new items. That was sort of disappointing, but I think it was too big of a step to fast. This month, with my new logo, and new shop, I am going to give a daily listing challenge another go! This time I am going to allow myself to count re-listings as well, mostly on days where I am not able to get a new product placed in my shop.
In addition to my new etsy posts I am committing myself to 2 blog posts and 2 facebook posts each week! So please expect to see a lot more of me around these interwebz!