new year resolutions…kinda sorta

 

I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I figure, what’s the point?  It’s not like I’m actually going to make some dramatic changes or anything.  I mean, let’s be honest.  Change is hard.  And I’m pretty settled in my ways.

But, this year…I’ve been thinking.  I really want some things to change.  I’m tired.  And I think I’m at the point where change is necessary or else.  This is the year.

This list, might not be of any interest to you…but if I say it, I’ll do it.  And I’m gonna say it aloud so I take some action.

1) My business, this whole Two Peas thing…my “hobby”…this is the year I decide to either keep doing it publically or go underground and just sew for fun without the business aspect.   I get emailed lots and lots of questions about how to do what I do and I thought it might be good to share what my pea brain knows thus far about what I’ve been doing and I’ll do that more here in 2012.  It just seems like there are some crafters that seem to find instant HUGE success and can make this whole handmade thing their bread and butter to provide for their family.  Wish I knew their secret.  To sew and craft for a living – like actually make a living at crafting, dream!  DREAM!!  I’ve certainly enjoyed success, and I am so humbled and thankful for the successes I have had and…I can’t quit my day job.  I’m pretty sure because of benefits like health insurance, I won’t be able to.  Ever.  I’m patiently waiting to see where God will lead me in this decision.  Plus, I love my day job too (working in higher ed and for the environment – we’re tree huggers in case you didn’t know).

My business is more than a business.  Which is maybe not good business?  It’s my love.  My passion.  Lifelong passion, truly – I love sewing and art.  Have loved it since I could hold a crayon in my hand.  I love what I do and love sharing with others what I do.  I spend a lot of time on my business and the whole point of creating “two peas” was to afford me a small income so that I could be available to my family, AND get to do what I love.  I mean, isn’t that THE DREAM?  When I was a park ranger, somebody PAID ME TO RIDE MY BIKE IN THE PARK ALL DAY.  Serious.  It was the best!  If I’m spending time away from my family in order to work my business, it needs to be worth my while, worth my absence.  You know what I mean?

But I suck at it.  At least at staying focused because my babies are only babies once, and I’m so easily distracted for one more hug, for a quick bike ride on the driveway, for snack time, etc etc etc.   My hubby says my “business” so far is still just a hobby.  And a hobby would allow me to make different decisions with my time.  Does that make sense?  I mean, if it was JUST a hobby, then to heck with deadlines, marketing, bookkeeping (oh I hate bookkeeping) blah, blah, blah.  Heck, I tell my husband all the time…I just want to sew and draw and paint and glue things together and create.  Can’t somebody else do all that other number crunching stuff ?  I’m just not sure I have what it takes to be so driven to make my hobby a true business.  I love what I do – too much – and sometimes I feel like I’m sacrificing the love of it for something else.

Maybe this is “taboo” – things you shouldn’t say in business publicly but I’m just being honest with myself.  I’ve been at it commercially for one year.  They say it takes 2-3 years for a business to hit its stride.  Being a one woman show is taxing – and I’m not sure if this is what God had in mind when I felt pulled this direction.  Anybody else feeling this way with your business?  Please tell me I’m not alone.

So my resolution here is to full on do the things I originally set out to do.  I’m going to hit it hard this year!  Sky is the limit, pie in the sky, dream the big dream, shoot for the stars.  That way, I can have no regrets.  No.  Regrets.  I’m going to figure out how to manage to balance my time so that I’m happy with my creative time, family time and business time.  No.  Regrets.  This time next year, I want to decide if this is for me or not.  Did I mention my young husband who is a law enforcement park ranger is retiring THIS YEAR.  Those law enforcement guys have a good deal going and he was recruited very young.  See…I think this is at the root of my turbulent thinking because of this drastic change for us…lots to figure out what are we doing, how we do it, where do we need to be.  It’s really weighing heavily on me.

2) This is the year I vow to lose the *cough! cough* twenty pounds, give or take a few, that I gained while Sprout was having a rough go last winter.  She is still considered to be in an “ongoing diagnostic” phase as they found some neuro abnormalities but can’t pin it down especially since thus far, her neurological and other developmentally milestones are all being met, thankfully.  She’s even a little advanced in some areas. Funny thing, when you quit eating from stress and nerves, you gain weight, quick.  Bummer.  But this looming, waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling, kinda starts to get old after awhile.

We have been very blessed because our family received a scholarship from the Y for my girls to be on the swim team and I have access to classes and 6 hours of personal trainer time to help me figure out how to get on track with diet and exercise.  I want to get my flexibility back that I lost after having my last baby, I want energy, and I want to be able to button my pants so I don’t have to buy new ones.  I’ve got a serious muffin top thing going on with my jeans right now and I do NOT want to spend any money on clothes.  Today, I quit drinking pop.  Cold Turkey.  I made it all the way to 3:34pm.  Then I had a Coke.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  Wish me luck on that one.

3) I want to be a better steward in faith – I want to be sure that in all that I do – I do it for the right reasons.  I want to do more than just enough to get by, I want to be more centered and focused on my relationship with Christ.  I keep reminding my girls, and in a way, reminding myself, that a sin is a sin is a sin.  It doesn’t matter how small, God doesn’t say well, murder is REALLY bad but  lying is not as bad so…OK, you’re in!  I want to live my life with God at the center of EVERYTHING I do.  Taking care of myself, my family, people around me – it all plays into where I’m placing my priorities.  First and MOST IMPORTANT, I don’t want to just get by.  I want to do more.  I’m not sure what that means just yet…

4) I want to be on time.  I’m late for most everything.  I hate that about myself.  And yet, for like 20 years, I can’t seem to improve it.  I’m going to set my alarm more often.  Try to keep a better, stricter schedule.  Refer back to #2.  I think that will help.  All about physically and emotionally, being healthy.  I mean, it’s so bad, my friends actually tell me to be places 20 minutes early – they LIE to me, so I get there on time.  It works.  Most of the time.  But then I’m worried that if my friends are LYING to me, they are gonna go to hell (see #3).  I’m just kidding about that part.  But I am going to do better this year about being on time.

5)  I want to catch up on my laundry.  In a house of 5, it never, ever, never, ever stops and I’m always like 7 loads behind the eight ball even when I do a load or two EVERY DAY.  Ugh.  I vow to declutter our laundry heap, simplify our clothing choices, and use those vaccuum storage bag things so I have a space to put off season clothes away (did I mention we live in a small house with very small closets…love the house, hate my closets.)

6) I want to simplify.  I’m tired of having “stuff”.  I want less “stuff” and more open space.  Refer to #5.  I decluttered every room of the house this year and finished just before Christmas.  I’m going to do it all over again…and really pare down.  Almost everything we own is a hand me down and I have a hard time saying no – I’m a flea market, thrift store, junk loving kind of girl.  But I need to simplify.  PURGE will be my favorite word for January and February and March and April and….

7)  I want to be a better friend, reconnect with old friends.  There are people that used to be really important in my life and they have faded away.  I want to reconnect.

8. I want to be a better wife.  I pray about this ALOT.  I try to practice submission with my husband (well, the kind where I tell him he’s the head of the house and he has the final say but really, I pretty much always get my way, kind of submission.  Right?  That’s how it works isn’t it?  I really do let him lead but we are 100% a team).  I want to be everything he needs me to be and support him as best I can.  I want to always make him happy and feel loved and appreciated.  I want to say “yes” more than I say “no” because that always ends up working in my favor anyway.  What?  Oh, come on girls.  That is not a secret. Right?!

9)  I want to volunteer at my kids school while I can.  5th graders, this is their last year in elementary school.  Can I put them in a bubble and stop them from turning into teenagers?  Please?  I know I still have 2 years and 2 months before they hit their teens but I’m working so hard to keep them little and age appropriate in a world that wants them to to be 17 when they are 10.  It’s such a battle – and I mean, one that I wield a shield and sword for – to keep images, music, television, and situations, age appropriate to MY standards.  To hell with the standards of the world, it’s our rules, our standards.  It requires me to preview movies, google search lyrics to songs before they download them, and it’s sometimes freaking exhausting.  But they are the sweetest, most compassionate, generous, loving, faithful, inspiring, energetic, appreciative, down to earth girls I know.  And that has nothing to do with me…that’s all them.  I don’t want to miss a moment of any stage of their life.  Even, gasp, the teen years.

10)  Become debt free.  This economy sucks right now.  This goes back to #1 and the hubby retiring.  Debt free will do much to alleviate my anxiety over our future.  Pipe dream maybe because I’m talking the whole she-bang.  Mortgage and all.  I guess I better start playing the lottery.  This one is maybe less of “resolution” and more of a dream.

I think that about covers it all.  Wait, I want to drink more water too.  Anyway, just a few little resolutions…How about you?  Make any resolutions this year?


{Ho! Ho! Homemade!}

It’s kinda nice when Christmas lasts more than just one day.  We have family here in town and elsewhere across the state and our “Christmas” lasts at least a week.  No complaints from the Peas or Sprout, for sure.

We visited with my Mom and Dad last week.  It was “Ho! Ho! Homemade Holidays!” for sure.  My parents are both in their late seventies and honestly, what the heck do you buy when truly, they either already have it or they don’t want it.

I’m very blessed in that my parents take very good care of themselves.  My Mom will see some older person, shuffling along slowly, and she will lean over and say, “I don’t ever want to be like that”.  So my Mom and Dad, work out.  At least twice a week or more, they go to the gym and do the weight machines, walk the track, treadmill, etc.  And they don’t skip for nothing!  When the peas were visiting with them, they packed them up and had them come along.  It’s really important to them to keep it up and I’m so thankful for their good health at this stage of their life.

I digress.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, homemade holidays…can’t buy them anything, yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, as I do for most celebrations with them, I make something.  Here’s a few of the oddities and such I gifted them this year.

  • A pillow made from my Farmhouse Funk pillow pattern.
  • A quilted wall hanging.  I added family photos to it and some other tidbits like lace, yarn, buttons, etc to it as well.  I used that computer fabric paper stuff.  THIS is what I used.  My parents really loved it.  It was pretty quick to make too!  The photos were hard copies I put on our printer and made color copies of using that printable fabric.  Could not be easier!
  • Love the stuff Joel Dewberry has out right now.  I made this little travel pouch and a patchwork scarf for my Mum too!   I won’t tell you EXACTLY how old my Mom is but does she look like she is in her very late seventies?!  Heck no!!  She looks fab!

I had a bunch of other things I gave her too like a cool paper garland, some mason jars covered with a felted sweater and appliqued, and a bag…you know when you’re little and you make a picture, how exciting that was to give to your parents and they would tack it up on the refrigerator?  That feeling never grows old.  I love making stuff for my parents.

Remember me talking about the meltdown Sprout had about wanting a bike at our North Pole party?  Guess what?  The grandparents came through and man, was she one tickled little girl!  She wakes up and says, “Can we go out in the ga-rawg so I can wing my bell?”.  Too cute!!  She had been eyeing this old fashioned display that was in the window of our local hardware store – 2 years running now – with all the retro Radio Flyer toys.  She’s been dreaming of this little red bike for a long time.

We’ve enjoyed our time off from school and work.  Lots of fun sewing, hiking and visiting with family and friends.  It was actually pretty warm over the holiday and we enjoyed being outside.  Love hiking over at “Daddy’s park” where he is a Park Ranger.  (Note my sewing assistant taking a break – normally, while I sew, she stands behind me and twirls MY hair while she sucks her thumb.  It’s a pretty good system we’ve worked out)

As I sit here and type this morning, the snow is flying and we are all so glad to see it!  Hope it dumps on us and stays for a long time!  Hiking in the new snow is way amazing and I miss it.  AND…We are ready to pull out the sleds and cross country skis for sure!

Did you sew up anything for the holidays?  Do share!  Would love to see what you crafted up over the holidays!

{to the NORTH POLE}

My twins, the peas, are now 10 years old.  The magic of Christmas is still very much alive in our house.  When I saw this posted, I knew I had to throw this party.

I love the internet for finding party ideas – and this one was so simple yet so magical.  I loved it!  We kept the party a secret from our girls until the day before the party which was the last day of school.  I had invited one friend for each girl – I wanted to keep it intimate.  If you read the post where the idea came from, you’ll see that the party consisted of lots of lights, cookies and milk, story time, and a gift exchange.  The girls absolutely LOVED it!

I may have gone just a tad bit overboard with the lights and decorations…but quite frankly, I don’t care.  It was so much fun!!

A word to the wise…the snow in the can…skip it.  We held the can back from the window and adjusted how close, the result was the same. Zig-zaggy lines on the window.  In the dark, it wasn’t as noticeable as it is in the picture.

Making the jars of reindeer food, a HUGE hit!  The kids loved this.  Most especially Sprout…she was so excited to do fill her jar with treats for Santa’s reindeer.  I found the little printables with the reindeer food poem HERE.

The big girls there, those are friends from church…they were kind enough to come and be our “elves” during the scavenger hunt.  Yeah, um, so December 22nd here in Ohio…we had flood warnings.  It poured down rain from noon clear until about 11pm.  No scavenger hunt.  We played a round of Twister instead.  That’s Christmasy, right?

Oh the milk and cookies!  I hadn’t had ANY holiday sweets yet this season and it was so yummy to taste all the different cookies the girls brought to share!  My big girls were pretty good about how many they ate but Sprout…I really have no idea how many that girl consumed.  She was taking bites out of everything, up and down in her seat and all over the place.

After cookies, we headed down by the fireplace where the Gardener (the peas and sprouts daddy) read a couple of Christmas stories.  The big girls were all giggly and couldn’t sit still.  Sprout loved it.  She LOVES to read so she kept “shushing” the big girls.  (and what is that over my head in the photo of me and Sprout?  THAT is an elk.  The Gardener is also an avid hunter.  Not exactly my taste in decor but I compromise – cuz I love him so).

And we ended with a little gift exchange.  Now, you know how you teach your children good manners and you hope they won’t disappoint you?  Sprout and her little friend Lily exchanged their gifts.  Lily, sweet Lily, so graciously thanked Sprout and loved her gift (a little wristlet I made).  Sprout, who at this point was tired, way sugared up and all, opens her gift, Candy Land – the game.  The big girls responded with “Oh, cool!”.

Sprout crosses her arms, with a big pout and says, “I wanted a bike!”.  A bike?  Really?  Whose kid is this?  She proceeded to have a little melt down and went upstairs with Dad to chill and came back to apologize and ask forgiveness.  And then sat down and played Candy Land and did just fine the rest of the night, um, mostly.  Ah, to be 3.

I’m a little worried about how Christmas morning is going to go.  Pretty sure her grandparents, who she won’t see until just before New Year’s, “might” have gotten her the bike she wanted that was in the window at the hardware store for the last two years (a little red Radio Flyer with a “bell and the streamers”) – just like she wanted.  Honestly, this kid has never had a melt down like that before so it just stunk that happened with her little friend.  I’m working on her though…

It was a good night.  One I hope my girls remember, as they get older – so they remember the magic of Christmas and how special it is.  How magical it is that God sent us His son to save us.  A savior.

Beyond the lights, the milk and cookies, the gifts and glitter – the beauty of this night is simple.  Love.  Sharing time with friends in celebration of the most amazing gift ever.

Merry Christmas – from our family to yours.  May God bless you and your family in this coming year.