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Granny Squares, Decisions, and Vows

May 28, 2010

This week, I decided to close my shop, and then decided that I couldn’t live with that decision. So, the shop is not closing. I will, however, cease to take custom orders.

Why? Though there are a few smallish fabric stores locally, none of these are equipped to supply the many, varied requests I received. The nearest fabric mecca is Spokane, which is about an hour away from town. I spent, at the minimum, about 10 hours driving last week, and this does not count the drive to Seattle with my daughter. Yipes! My family subsisted on pizza. My current novel sat untouched. Meanwhile, I was buzzing around like a giddy, happy little bee because I love tasks and activity…until Monday afternoon, when I realized that there wasn’t a crumb of food in the house, and that I hadn’t played with my kids for a week. And, oh boy. When a writer doesn’t write, look out!

So much for balance, right?

So, Monday, I cried and decided that I had to close the store – I just couldn’t see around it. I started crocheting granny squares like a madwoman, though, because I have this freakish condition where I’m unable to be idle. Tuesday: I felt good about the decision. I played games with my youngest daughter. I was utterly relaxed when i went up to the high school to teach (I’ve been teaching an independent study class for a senior up there – she’s designing her graduation dress, and is almost done!). I wrote and wrote and wrote. I cleaned the house…

By the end of the day, life was caught up, and…quite dull. But I spent time with my kids, weeded the raised garden beds, and I wrote, so that counted for something. I felt sadness whenever a design idea popped into my head, but I tried to squash the sadness with activity. More grannies! Color! Happy music!

Wednesday, I was very vocal about closing stuff down. It sounded a little TOO vocal to me, but I couldn’t deny that my kids were more important than the business, right? I said that so, so many times…

Thursday, I was grumpy. Sad. Irritable. I reasoned that I was just grieving. I wrote, cleaned, and watched Korean Dramas, because that’s what I do when I’m stressed out.

This morning, I woke up and said this whole quitting the store thing is silly. It makes more sense to just quit the custom stuff and see how that goes! I HAVE to write. Now, I know that I must design as well. My friends seemed to know it better than I did (you smarty pants people, you!). Yay for life lessons!

So, there we are. I’m back to that modern struggle to balance life. If you happen to see me online between 8 am and 12 pm, tell me to get back to writing. If you see me online between 1 and 4, tell me to go back to the studio. Honestly, if I’m taking a break, I should dress up dollies and play dominoes with my girls, eh? I think so.

How the heck do y’all balance everything?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2010 7:21 am

    Thanks for sharing. I have an idea for you I will post on the Yahoo group. Now I need to learn how to crochet. I can’t explain that.

    • May 29, 2010 12:11 pm

      You need to crochet, because it’s another way to manipulate color, of course! I like to embroider too, but crocheting is a more active craft – lots of wrist and elbow action, if you’re me. It’s easy to pull out stitches and start again, which makes it rather conducive to releasing tension. If I embroider while distressed, I get knotted threads. If I sew when distressed, I end up using my seam ripper a lot.

      I like your ideas. Something to consider. One of my FB friends suggested something very similar. 😛

  2. Cheryl permalink
    May 29, 2010 8:33 am

    First of all…..LOVE the flower pic…it looks a bit familiar! You should see the deep burgandy one that came out on the sister plant. Secondly, you CAN do this. Just be very strict about your daily time limits. Treat it like an outside the home job. Get up, shower, dress, decide what’s for dinner, leave the house, drive around the block, come back into the “office”. Then be done at quitting time. Work/Life balance is always hard if it gets out of control. I have confidence in you!

    • May 29, 2010 12:15 pm

      :hugs: Thank you!

      So the white flower plant ended up with burgundy blooms too? I LOVE columbine! So, so unpredictable sometimes…

      I think driving around the block to start the day would be hilarious! I’ve had a good work-day so far. The girls colored and drew pictures on the couch with me while I worked on my outline. I did take time to write out one of Lizzie’s stories…I’ll have to share it. it’s pretty funny.

  3. May 29, 2010 9:33 pm

    I so understand! I just posted on my blog that I won’t be doing custom orders. It’s too much, and – for me, at least – it has really robbed the joy out of creating. I much prefer the designing and free-spirited creativity that goes with it. And you know, that’s okay, and it will make you (and, in the end, your customers!), much happier. 🙂

    Also, if you need fabric, my dear, I ship! 🙂 No driving required!! 🙂

    • May 29, 2010 11:54 pm

      Yeah, I just saw that – good for you. 🙂 I actually did enjoy doing the custom work…it’s kinda fun to see a pattern re-interpreted. It was a pain in the buttocks to find the right color, weight, and fiber content gingham, but the shirts came out so cute! On the other hand, I can’t do any work ahead of time that way and blah-blah-blah.

      I was sick today, and had the time to be sick, so that was pretty awesome. lol

      I like to touch fabric before I buy it…but, when things get hectic again, I’ll have to remember that you and Carrie both ship. Lordy knows I’ve felt everything up already. 😛

  4. June 4, 2010 8:56 pm

    “Though there are a few smallish fabric stores locally, none of these are equipped to supply the many, varied requests I received. The nearest fabric mecca is Spokane, which is about an hour away from town.”

    I can so sympathize. I wish I had a good fabric store even as close as 1 hour away. There is nothing for garment sewing around here except JoAnn’s unless you want quilting cottons. We do have a couple of quilt stores , but you can’t make everything out of cotton.

    BTW, love your designs. I wish I had your eye for which fabrics look cute together. I’m okay with choosing fabrics for quilts, but garments still baffle me.


    a.k.a. Quilting Bibliophagist

    • June 16, 2010 8:46 am

      Somehow, this ended up in my spam queue…not cool!

      Some quilting cottons are good for garment construction. I sew with them quite a bit, but there are certain fabric lines that are always far too heavy (most RJR fabrics, for instance).

      I suspect that, slowly, the fabric store scene will change. I’ve already noticed a difference with another retail chain, Hancock (not to be confused with Hancock’s of Paducah). They not only carry a large range of the good Kona cotton solids, but also have true cotton seersucker, actual swiss dot (True chenille dots on 100% cotton lawn fabric. lovely stuff at a fraction of the $23.00/yd price of the imported fabric), and a decent selection of linen. Last fall, JoAnn’s actually carried wool material again…though it was rough and icky, this was quite the step up!

      I’m a Leviticus kinda girl when it comes to material woven from more than one fiber. 😉

      Honestly, if you can pick fabrics for quilts, you can pick them for clothes…when it comes to kids, anyhow. I will never wear this in public, for instance:

      House Dress in progress

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