We just met for the first time earlier this month. 26 was good, but it was time to move on. 27, you remind me that 30 is getting closer. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked that idea… at all. A lot of my friends seem to be dreading 30; bemoaning the fact that their 20’s will be gone forever. Then I talked to one of my besties, & she began to change my perspective. She has loved her 30’s. She said it seemed like the drama of the 20’s & all the big life questions that come with them was over, & was replaced by new-found freedom & independence.
The more I hear my peers wish they weren’t nearing 30, the more I realize: I don’t want to feel that way about any age. 27, I want to love wearing you this year. I remember my Nana Anne… a spunky little lady with a zest for living, even at 78. She never seemed to regret a new year, no matter her age. She loved life, & wore her grey hair & wrinkles proudly. Nana never let age get in her way. She woke early, cooked huge family dinners, & traversed the state for yard sales & auctions.
I don’t want to live life wishing that it was something different. I want to create a full, vibrant, simple life. Full of love, & life, & creativity. I want to live life with no regrets this year, & every year after it. I know I’m going to rock grey someday… I might even add some aqua highlights. Mostly, I hope each new year is full of joy & curiosity. 30: I’ll see ya’ in a few. Until then…
Bring it on, 27. What do you hope
this next year will hold for you?
Change. External, & internal. Sometimes we change without realizing it, & other times we know changes need to happen for us to keep moving forward. To keep growing, change has to happen. External changes are easier to see, & often easier to handle. Internal… not so much. They’re the heart-issues; the times when you strike out on your own after school & realize life is never going to be the same. Changes happen. We need to change in order to become who we want to be.
I’ve made some pretty big changes lately in the way I take care of the household, & how I schedule my days. (Mostly; before there was no schedule. 😛 ) It’s made a huge impact on the peacefulness of our home & our family’s contentment, joy, & happiness. Embracing a more simple, minimalistic lifestyle has dramatically changed this small family. It’s no big thing when we have unexpected guests now, because the house just STAYS tidy.
Other changes come more suddenly, & are unexpected. We just got a new dining room table, a lovely round antique table with 4 chairs. After we put it in, I realized that Miss T can sit in a booster seat. We can sit at the table together! I’ve so enjoyed watching the kids grow & become more independent… & this is the first time that growth & change with the kids has felt bittersweet.
The next change I’m hoping to make is in my own eating habits. I’m not very good at sticking with eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, or staying away from snacking & junk food. I’m hoping to eliminate most snacking (my downfall!), increasing my veggie intake, & cutting back on how much bread I eat.
So… who do you want to be? What’s one change you can make (or accept more gracefully) to get closer to being you?
In June, I wrote a post called “giving back” & kicked off Corner Chair’s first fundraiser. It won’t be the last, I can tell you. It was such a joy to ship out artwork to customers, knowing that the money raised would be able to help dear friends.
I wanted to update y’all on the fundraiser, & a few Sundays ago, our schedules finally aligned so we could take the money to Joanne & her family. Terry & Joanne invited us to their house, where we ate pizza & ice cream sundaes. We celebrated. Life. Family. Friendship. Laughed until our sides hurt as Z-man showed us a 2 year-old can operate a smart phone better than the grown-ups! I got to sit & relax while their daughters chased after the kids. We told funny stories & watched some HGTV.
It’s amazing when you start a project, hoping that you can be a blessing to someone & end up realizing that you’re the lucky one. When you get to spend time with people who make it their life’s mission to love on everybody they can, no matter what they’re going through. It humbles me. Makes me re-think my own priorities, & want to give more. To do more. Experiences like this make me want to teach our kids that they are a part of something big. That they can change the world, if they can only learn how to love.
So thank you. Thank you all for the orders & donations. Thank you for teaching me what really matters in life. I am grateful & so blessed. Joanne & her family covet your prayers, as they’ve reached the end of her chemotherapy & are on to the next stage of treatment. If you would like to stay in touch with Joanne & follow her journey, follow her story on Facebook!
I needed space. It felt like there was a lot in my brain… too many ideas, projects, blog posts, to-do’s & big-picture thoughts on life in general. There was too much external chaos for me to be able to focus on all the stuff in my brain, & I was feeling pulled in different directions. With all the noise around me, I began searching for space. I’ve discovered it’s not about finding a quiet space, it’s about MAKING a space. I knew I needed to create an atmosphere of calm & peace in the house so that I could get some space to think.
Have you ever been there, or is it just me? I’m a “big-picture” thinker, so I always have huge dreams, plans, thoughts about life-goals, & hundreds upon hundreds of projects, ideas, & to-do’s. When there’s too much going on around me, I can’t focus on anything, & I end up feeling really hyper-active with nowhere to put my pent-up energy. Here’s my list of 5 steps that I’ve taken to help me clear the external clutter so I have the space to unload my brain’s content.
1) CLEAR the clutter.
I figured out a while ago that one of my biggest sources of external “chaos” is from STUFF. I’m talking about all the things we seem to collect. The artwork & half-finished products that never get put away, the piles of bills that don’t get filed, & the toy mountain. Just as I was realizing that clutter is one of my biggest personal stressors, I came across this article. I’m still in the process of de-cluttering, but the house is oh-so-much-better. When I walk in the door it feels like I can mentally breathe.
2) CLEAN the house.
I don’t like cleaning when there’s stuff everywhere. After a few de-cluttering sessions, it suddenly became MUCH easier to keep the house tidy! The kids toys get put away more often (since there’s a lot less of them), & my dishes haven’t been in a huge pile in the sink. At least one load of laundry gets done each day, & if I miss a day, it’s easy to catch up. It’s amazing how the journey to minimalism has made our house so much more peaceful!
3) SET the mood.
One of the best ways for me to find space to think is to set the mood! Don’t try to make space when the kids are awake. My time for quiet & idea-gathering varies each day because… kids. Some days they nap, other days they don’t. When the house is quiet during naps (or after bed-time), I like to light a candle, put on some quiet cafe-style music, & get an iced coffee (or chai latte!).
4) FREE write.
Now that there’s some external space, I usually like to empty my brain of EVERYTHING. Free writing is the best way for me to get all the ideas, to-do’s, dreams, hopes, goals, & anything else I’ve had on my brains. The first time you try free-writing is might be awkward, but you’ll be addicted soon. Don’t think; just WRITE.
5) SORT your thoughts.
After I do a free-writing session, I feel SO much better! It feels like my brain is empty & I can finally focus on one thing at a time, as it’s needed. I usually read over my writing & start sorting through it. The to-do’s go in my to-do app, blog post ideas get scribbled down into my blogging notebook. Having it all written down helps me find interesting big-picture topics that make for great conversation with Hubs over dinner or on Sunday afternoon drives. (Often, I’ll use a Mind Map to help sort my ideas & thoughts after a free-write!)
How do you make space when you need to think & get your thoughts & ideas on paper?
There’s a song out right now that I love, & part of the chorus is “Life is short I wanna live it well; one life, one story to tell…” Every time I hear it I’m reminded of why I chose this life. Why I wake up & write blog posts, soothe baby woes, & wash loads of laundry & do the dishes. It reminds me what a life well-lived looks like (to me). To me, a life well-lived is full of:
Loving on those around me… taking the time to stop & snuggle when my tiny people seem to be extra cranky. Resting & chatting with dear friends. Showing love in all it’s forms to those around me.
Close, & extended. Having the grands & great-grands over to lay with the kids. Taking the kids to an ice cream parlor just because. Making the time to document life, so we don’t forget these days that seem to fly by so fast.
I have so many dear friends, & many more I’d love to get to know better! I really want to focus on hospitality & investing in the community around us. From one-on-one time with dear friends to large gatherings with new friends, I hope to help our family strengthen ties with those around us.
Living a creative life is essential to me. I know I always need to make time & space for creativity, for myself & others. I love having a mix of personal projects, products, for new collections, & things that are just to give away.
The kind of life I want to live doesn’t require lots of stuff or money. Rather; contentment. Being happy with the sweet, simple things of life, & learning to find joy & peace in everyday moments.
There are some things I get so excited about that I just HAVE to share them with somebody… I have a whole bunch of things I’m loving right now, so here’s another volume of 10 Random Things (Here’s Vol. 1)!
#1. Pioneer Woman’s Cheeseburger Salad. Oh. My. Goarsh. I think when you eat this heaven comes down to earth. It’s a salad, so there’s a lot more lettuce. It’s a cheeseburger, so your man will LOVE you for the rest of ever if you make this for him. The best part: the croutons. Set aside your current dinner plans, & go make cheeseburger salad instead. You’ll thank me later.
#3. CaliFaye’s Tank Top Pattern. This Basics Tank top pattern is everything you’ll ever want. It’s a simple, two-seam pattern. I altered it a bit by cutting my linen on the bias… since bias-cut fabric has a bit more give, I cut a smaller size than my measurements. It’s PERFECT. The fit is amazing, & it’s SO easy to throw a few together!
#4. Simple Gift Wrap. This amazingly simple sewn gift wrapping looks so stunning, & it’s super easy! The blogger is Swedish, but the instructions are already translated on her blog, so that makes it easier.
#6. Top-Down Knitted Sweaters. I’m about half-way through my very first top-down sweater. It’s already looking awesome, & the best part is that there are very few seams! I’m making up a pattern as I go (because apparently I like to do stupid things like that), but this grey sweater is what I hope it looks like when I’m done!
#7. Coffee “Stained” Shirt.This shirt is AMAZING!!! I love it… & may need to add it to my wardrobe. 😀
#9. Tunic Top (free printable pattern!). I’ve been getting back behind my sewing machine lately, & I may be making myself this breezy tee (or a few of them!). It’s such a simple design, & looks pretty easy to put together.
#10. Edy’s Rocky Road Ice Cream. Because, let’s face it: Chocolate, Marshmallows & Nuts are perfection. Edy’s(or Dreyer’s for the West-Coasters) is by far my favorite store-bought brand for rocky road… it doesn’t have the swirly marshmallow fluff, but actual mini-marshmallows… so, it’s the best.
Tell us a bit about yourself & your business! I’m Dawn Pierro, of Turtle Moon Designs. I create artisan jewelry that is hand-built with love. A few years ago I gave up my teaching job to focus solely on creating jewelry. Much of the time I have my jewelry set up in my studio, and people can come by to have a look or we can work on a custom piece together.
How did you get started making jewelry? I’ve always loved jewelry and art but never thought I had an artistic bone in my body. About 15 years ago me and some friends decided to buy some beads and try our hand at jewelry making, the rest, as they say, is history! After a time of beading I got a little bored with it so I bought some copper sheet-metal, some stamps and a few other tools and start making my own pendants….. When I took a metal smithing class with my friends, I was hooked. Everything just fell into place after that.
What inspires you & your designs? Most of my inspiration comes from nature and I am very drawn to the Native American style and symbolism. Trees, animals, the sun and moon are always a source of awe and joy to me. Working with silver, copper and a wide variety of stones makes me happy,
Do you have a favorite stone to work with? I particularly love turquoise, amethyst, Ocean Jasper and pretty much anything else that catches my eye! I’ve never really seen a stone that I didn’t love and I tend to hoard them a little!!
What does your life look like running your jewelry business? My studio is in my garage so I can basically work from home anytime I like. My husband basically transformed that space for me and it’s awesome. Much of the time I have my jewelry set up, and people can come by to have a look or we can work on a custom piece together. A few years ago I gave up my teaching job to focus on jewelry.
Although I miss my teaching friends and the preschoolers I spent so many years with, it was the right choice and I love what I do. Art is very personal for most people, and jewelry being a form of art that people adorn them selves with, has a very special meaning to them. I love to see people connect with a piece or work with me on a custom design that makes them happy.
I took an impromptu blogging break last week to rest, catch up on housework, & slow time for some slow living. I’ve been craving starting a knitting project, & just couldn’t settle on something. Finally, I thought to myself: “You just need to start SOMETHING. Right now, just do it.” I went on my “Knitting & Crochet” Pinterest board & found a sweater that I liked. Next, I went in the bedroom, dug through my yarn stash, & found a skein that caught my fancy.
And I started. I set a few guidelines for myself: 1) I wouldn’t let this project take over my entire life (which is a common occurrence), so that nothing else in life would get accomplished. & 2) I would NOT let myself be the crazy-perfectionist I am when I’m making something.
I’ve been known to almost finish a sweater, & then take it out because the knitting wasn’t even. Or start & stop a project a million times because I’m not sure if I really, actually, TRULY like what I’m making. Not this time. Nope. I decided I needed to Just. Do. It.
My desire for perfection can be a really good thing. It has created some amazing things that I’m really proud of (Like the Campfires collection!) However, my desire for perfection can also bite me in the foot. I stay “crippled” for weeks on end, because I want something to be just right. Or, I want it to be 110%, & if there’s a chance it will be 90%… well, that’s just not good enough. rip, rip, rip, go all 225 evenly knitted stitches
I can also be such a perfectionist that I never even start something, because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. I have literally never gotten projects off the ground because I don’t want it to turn out badly! (Pro tip: You don’t know how it will turn out if you NEVER start! 😀 ) I sometimes forget that I’m going to make mistakes in life. I can want to create something, but unless I’m willing to take a chance & make mistakes along the way, I’ll never get to see the end result.
What are you not doing, because you might mess it up? Is there something you’ve set aside because you’re not 110% sure about the idea? Or how about the thing(s) you’re afraid might be too big of a task to do perfectly? Think of that one thing that you keep putting off, or haven’t finished because of your desire for perfection. Now: Just Do It.
What is something you’ve put
off because of perfectionism?
I have always loved people… getting together with friends & family, making new acquaintances. I haven’t been as active & worked on building up the community around me nearly as much as I would like to. Our schedules have often restricted us from having the parties we would love to have. But I need to face it: there’s also some selfishness, laziness, & a hesitation to commit. I don’t feel like the work it would take to get the house “company ready,” I don’t feel like the stress of organizing a party, or the work involved in cleaning up the aftermath. And then there’s the fear that comes along with it: “What if nobody wants to come?” often pops up in my mind.
But life is made up of people. It’s those we care about, & those we haven’t met yet. It’s the friends we love, all sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows & laughing. Sharing life with those around us is so important, & I don’t get to do it enough. Recently, I realized that I don’t want to let weeks & months go by without cultivating the amazing community around us. Hubs & I decided to change that, so I’ve come up with a list to get me started. I hope it will help you too!
1) Make it Happen.
If you have an idea for a fun party or gathering, the only thing stopping it is you!(Preaching to myself on this one!) I’m the one who’s not opening my calendar app & seeing what day is free. The first thing to do is to set a date. Make an event on Facebook, & start planning!
2) Make it Easy.
Pick a gathering that’s simple to put together! Don’t go all-out on a costume party or super-fancy themed dinner. To goal is to build community, not your wardrobe! Try a potluck, where everybody brings a dish so you don’t have to worry about what to cook.
3) Make it Cheap
Whatever even you decide on, it shouldn’t break the bank! If you want to decorate, use leftover tissue paper to make flowers, or hang the light strings you use at Christmas. Ask friends to bring their outdoor lanterns & lawn chairs.
4) Make it Stress-Free
If your house has toys strewn around & your friends are starting to pull in… don’t worry about it! They know how to walk over the train tracks! All that really matters is a clean bathroom. I guarantee: your guests will NOT leave because your house looks lived-in.
5) Make it Simple
Now is NOT the time to pull out the fine china! Use those paper plates from two birthdays ago, & have a big black trash bag that’s easily accessible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help cleaning up, these are friends! Chances are, they’re having a blast & want to get together again.
6) Make it Fun.
We have a community with some amazing musicians around us. I grew up spending many evening clustered around the piano, singing harmony with friends & family. Do you & your friends have a fun activity in common? You can have a mini-concert in the backyard if you ask friends to bring their instruments!
So, here’s a challenge for you: just start! Make a date for your next community-gathering. I’ve decided to stop putting it off, & make something fun happen… & I’m encouraging you to do the same! Within a few weeks, you’ll probably see some pictures showing up in my social media feed of our very first gathering at our new home.
Since I was a kid, I was constantly losing stuff. Leaving my purse at restaurants. Over the years, it’s become such a problem in my own eyes that I’m terribly ashamed of it. I’m embarrassed when I lose my keys (again). When someone comes over & I remember that I forgot to wash the dishes. I really meant to do it… I just got distracted! The worst part is; there’s no quick fix. Oh, believe me, I’ve tried… I’ve written lists, set alarms, made color coded schedules in half-hour increments. I forget where I put my list, the bread still burns, & let’s face it: strict schedules just aren’t my thing. My ability to forget EVERYTHING is my least favorite things about myself, & unfortunately, one of the most difficult things to change.
The truth is, I’ve been looking at my forgetfulness in all the wrong ways. I’ve turned it into a “problem” that I need to fix. Like it’s some kind of bad habit that I can somehow magically change with the poof of a wan, or a self-help book. Sometimes, “problems” aren’t problems at all. It’s not a flaw, it’s a quirk. It’s a goofy, lovable quirk that makes Hubs smile every time I get flustered trying to figure out where I left my favorite pen. What I need most is to give myself grace.
So, here are a few ways I’m trying to learn how to give myself grace:
1) Realize there’s nothing to fix:
There has to be a problem in order to fix it! Forgetting where I left my car keys isn’t one of the 7 deadly sins… although I may get cranky while I’m frantically searching & late for an appointment! If you’re feeling guilty because you don’t make the kids homemade pancakes; stop, & think: There’s Nothing Wrong. You can buy pancakes, they come in a box in the freezer aisle. (Trust me, the kids don’t care anyways… they just want the syrup.) You can’t fix something that’s not broke!
2) Stop beating yourself up over it.
This is going to be a hard one for me… I’ve always treated forgetfulness like it’s a huge character flaw. In reality, it’s just a character quirk. There’s nothing I can do to rid myself of it. Do you dislike cooking? You can’t force yourself to love it, so there’s no sense in beating yourself up over it. I ate my fair share of boxed macaroni & cheese… I’m still alive to tell the tale! (I sense a cooking theme starting here…)
3) I need to change my technique.
Having lived with the frustration of forgetfulness has taught me a lot. I’ve learned that order & routines are really important for me. The more organization in my life, the less I forget. For years, it’s seemed like there’s the big, bad wolf named “Lack of Memory,” that I’m supposed to kill. In reality, I don’t need to kill the wolf… I just need to learn how to outsmart it!
4) Stop hanging on to past “failures”.
I can go back & remember all the times I’ve forgotten things. I’ve hung on to those bad memories like they’re trophies or something. They don’t define who I am, & they’re just silly mistakes. But I’ve held on to the memories until they define me. All my past “failures” have turned a silly quirk into a problem (see #1!). You’re not a failure because you don’t make homemade ravioli… you just don’t like to cook. (Yep, definitely a cooking theme. We’re just gonna go with it. Okay? Okay.)
5) Realize it’s going to take time.
It’s going to take time for me to put all of these into practice. Time to develop routines, to stay organized. Time to learn how to outsmart my quirks. It’s learning to stress less over failures & to love who I am… quirks & all. Giving yourself grace isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s a daily process.
Please understand: I’m currently trying to apply all of these in my life, in more areas than just forgetfulness! I need to give myself grace with my body image, mothering, cleaning… I just need lots of grace in life. Don’t we all?
How about you… Where do you
need to learn to give yourself grace?
Today, I’m starting a small series… I wanted to share a bit about each person that helped in the Campfires collection. So, welcome to Maker Interviews! Today I’m interviewing Kanina Miller, of The Yarn Nomad. Not only is she a talented creative, she’s also my business bestie! (And, oh my gosh, have you SEEN her hair?) So, without further ado:
Tell us a bit about yourself: Oh friends, It’s great to meet you! I’m …well….ME! My name is Kanina (pronounced Kah-9-ah) and my shop is The Yarn Nomad. Kate has become my business bestie over the last few years. (I’m not sure about this, but I’m pretty confident that I would not even have a business at this point, if not for her inspiration, support, and help.) Have you ever met someone and just KNOWN that you were going to be friends? That’s what happened with Kate. If I’m stuck, Kate is the person I call, or text, or message, or show up (with coffee and donuts usually). And since that first moment, when we were thrust together by some mutual friends, we have been seeking collaboration opportunities. Campfires collection has been a labor of love, for all involved. I’m honored to be a part of it.
I’m sure others would love to hear about The Yarn Nomad… Why the Yarn Nomad? The easy answer is that I love to travel, and I love yarn. I have a hard time holding still and my travels have taken me to places all over the US. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Columbus, Iowa City, and Raleigh. As well as tiny towns like Bridgeville, DE. I’ve traveled internationally, as well. Russia, Ukraine, and Thailand, with a brief visit to Vienna, Austria. (When a layover turns into an overnight, you go exploring! #makinglemonade)
Another part of The Yarn Nomad is telling stories. My stories, other people’s stories. The ultimate dream is for The Yarn Nomad to pay for me to travel. And for me to be able to purchase fair trade items to be able to sell through my website, and potentially a ‘bricks and sticks’ store.
What inspires you to make stuff? When it comes to making, inspiration can happen almost anywhere. Spending time with friends (and their children), movies, TV shows, Podcasts, Music, and books. Audible is my BFF and Librivox (app or .org, check it out!) is my true love. I’ve just finished re-reading (for approximately the 1,000th time) the Harry Potter series. And now I am all about making the H.P. themed things.
Where do you plan to travel next? My next nomad-ing will be taking me back to Thailand I’m super excited. There is a group going from my church and I get to go along! Basically all purchases are going towards funding that! (PLEASE BUY THE THINGS!!) And after that? I don’t even know, yet. But something will come up.
So why campfires? I mean it is August, and here in our part of the world, it is STILL hot as blazes. So it might seem a little silly to be talking about sweaters, hats, scarves, etc. For me it’s because it is the season I look forward to the most. Not only is my birthday in the fall, but it is such a glorious relief after the hot summer.
What is not to love about fall? The cool, crisp air. The crunchy leaves. Did I mention the cool temps?! I mean, it’s just lovely.
What is your favorite season, & what do you love about it?
So, it’s been a few days. Honestly, after all the time & effort (& stress!) to get Campfires off the ground, I knew I needed to take a few days to enjoy life. To put my laundry away, & away cook something, just because I can. I mean; that’s what this whole “small business” thing is about, right? Crafting a life I love; one that fuels me & inspires me.
These past few days have been about slowing down. Launch day was AMAZING! Y’all literally BLEW UP my site, I was wondering if we’d experience a crash… thankfully that didn’t happen! I had a blast seeing all the love on social media, & being all nerdy watching my stats. 😀 On Tuesday, I watched The Little Prince & nearly cried my eyes out! Let me tell you: The Little Prince = Perfection. A stunningly beautiful, incredibly sweet movie about growing up, life, & creativity. I really didn’t want it to end.
For the past few days, we’ve slowed down. I made pancakes & homemade bruschetta. Went to the gym. Folded the laundry-mountain (!), & washed the dishes. It was SO nice to just rest & be. My fingers are itching to hold some needles, so I browsed Pinterest for some good knitting ideas. This entire project has given me SO much inspiration. The more I create, the more I want to make.
With that said; there’s already another collection in the works… it will be out just in time for Christmas shopping! If you purchase something from the Campfires collection, you’ll get a little hint… or, sign up for the newsletter below, and you’ll get to hear about it soon!