Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lately

Oh my lands, have I ever been busy! This little business venture of mine called Heartstring Samplery has been growing slowly and steadily for the last 9 years, and its been a good thing; but I've reached a breaking point, it would seem, between keeping up on designing and filling orders while also homeschooling three days a week and managing our household. I think I have the equivalent of three full time jobs overlapping all at once. Between all of these wonderful, necessary things (and I confess, the easy nature of Instagram for posting pictures), I've sorely neglected this here blog thing. I've heard from more than one of you that you are missing my posts, so I am currently on an airplane taking advantage of the hours that I'll be sitting with nothing better to do, and am determined to get caught up! I'll be back-blogging (post dating) entries all the way back to January, so keep scrolling down if you're one of the faithful readers who really want to know what I've been up to (but bear with me if you're reading this immediately after posting, because this airline internet connection is pretty slow).

I did finally break down and hire a friend to start doing the bulk of my chart folding and stuffing, which has been an immense relief. I kid you not, the day I gave her the first big batch of orders to assemble, I literally slept better. I didn't realize how much stress I was releasing by doing so. Up until now, every single blessed chart has been touched by yours truly at least three times. Now you all have dearest Becky to thank for the freed up creative space in my head. I just hope and pray that she doesn't get sick and tired of the job any time soon.

As I type this, I'm en route to my first ever teaching gig at a stitching retreat in Virginia Beach. Pat and Ann at Dyeing to Stitch have been so helpful in giving me all the direction I need to prepare, but I admit I'm a bit jittery over how it will go. I get that way when doing something new. Not worried that I'll fail, but just not knowing what it will be like. Once my brain has a frame of reference, I'll be good. Having never even attended a stitching retreat before means I have no clue what to expect. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

This year has been a blur of preparation. First getting ready for the Needlework Market in Nashville, which started for reals as soon as the holidays were over, then as soon as I got home, I started planning and devising fun things for this retreat. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself once this trip is through. No more travel on my calendar for 2017 other than a couple of family vacations. I think it will be very nice to just breathe for awhile. :)

Now with no further ado, here are some pictures from the month of April, including lots of blooming flowers, smiling and growing-up-too-fast children, our first firepit of the season (it was a balmy 65 outside that day, who could resist?), and some Resurrection Sunday fun with cousins.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sewing with Grandma

Believe it or not, I have very little patience with sitting in front of a sewing machine. I can quilt and sew just about anything, but I get claustrophobic when stuck there for any amount of time. My Mama, on the other hand, is an avid quilter and loves every bit of it. She has designed and made amazing quilts for most of her 13 grandkids (its a little hard to keep up when that many are born in the space of 11 years), as well as full sized quilts for each of her 5 kids. Not to mention all of the others that she's made over the years.

So when she approached me and asked if her oldest Granddaughter might like some sewing lessons, I jumped at the opportunity!

They started last Summer, with my girl choosing the "what" (a quilt for her doll Mimi). She was able to pick through all of Grandma's fabrics and chose the entire color scheme and layout. In between holidays and school, there weren't very many opportunities to get it finished (a great disappointment, as it was intended to be a Christmas present for Mimi). But at last, the final day came, and the project was finished.

I'm so proud of my little one. She took to the craft like I should have known she would. We are a family of makers, after all. She did all of the stitching and stuck with it even when there were stitches that needed to be re-done. She even chose the thread colors and did the tying to hold it together.

These two are already trying to decide what their next sewing project will be, and none of us could be any happier with the arrangement.
Almost immediately after finishing the quilt, a box was found and Mimi got to open her gift, much to the amusement and delight of everyone present.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Rest of February

February was as always, a wet and cold respite. It's hard for me to put into words just how much I love the months of January and February. All is still and quiet and waiting. I adore the peacefulness of the calendar. It is an introvert's dream to not have so many social engagements, no bright sunshine drawing people out of their houses. There is the hope of Spring on the horizon, the watching for early signs of the end of Winter, but it is slow, still, peaceful. The rain hasn't yet become tiresome, the dreary days are comforted by a crackling fire in the woodstove.

And yet... since I started traveling for work, February is also the month of last-minute, of hurry-up-and-finish, of have-I-remembered-everything? Prepping for the Needlework Wholesale Market in Nashville is both fun and challenging. Every year is different. What will people love? What will they pass over in favor of another design? I don't worry about it too much, because the designs I create are purely from inspiration and intuition, with very little thought for trends or past successes. If I don't feel the design in my bones, if it doesn't get me excited in some way, then it gets trashed.

So my February was a strange juxtaposition of busy and still. And it was all good in the end.