Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Find the Joy

JoyAn online buddy of mine posted recently about his decision to quit fiction writing. He was depressed and miserable trying to push though the struggle to force words out. Of course people came out of the woodwork to tell him to stick with it, that it will get better, that he should try a, b, or c. What he has figured out though, is that if something is causing you heartache and misery, even if you love it, then it’s time to let go. It’s not right at this point in his life.

This has nudged me to look at much of my life and some of the same struggles I’ve been facing lately. Many of the areas of my life which I love completely, have been more challenging than they should be. I’m tired of being drained by the things that should be building me up instead. I’m not going to give up what I love, but I’m realizing it’s time to revamp my approach. Find a new rhythm, a new dance. Find the joy.

Horses

Anyone who knows me realizes I’ve loved these animals since I was young. I walk into a barn and it feels like home. I love the soft noses that nuzzle and the sweet gaze that follows me around. However, after being thrown, leasing horses that weren’t right for me, riding with folks that have different focuses and styles than I do, never regaining my confidence and not having the right fit for instruction and philosophy for me, I’m rethinking my approach. I appreciate everyone that I’ve worked with and those that have helped me along the way.

I need to keep seeking the right approach/fit/style that works for me. Currently that means taking a break and easing back into the horse world slowly. Not trying so hard. Finding the enjoyment of just being with these magnificent animals. Putting aside goals, even the one to have my own horse, until I’ve found the joy again. Letting a natural fit happen instead of trying to force it.

Crafts

Ah, yes. Another love. I have made everything from art quilt wallhangings to full sized bed quilts to wedding gowns, creatures and bags and costumes. If it’s fabric, I generally can figure out what to do with it. I also love paper crafts and have dabbled in crochet.

It was natural to try and turn those creative ventures into businesses. I did for a while, first doing the craft show circuit for a couple of years, then an Etsy business online. Although I learned a lot from both, and had fun, they were failures. Why? Lack of business experience/knowledge notwithstanding, the bottom line is that I hate production work. I prefer to work on one of a kind pieces that I can really get into. Plus working full time really puts a crunch on the preparation time needed for shows. So, I shut the businesses down, and besides the immense relief at not trying to prepare for craft shows or produce inventory for an online store, asked – now what?

Now what, indeed. I’m trying to learn how to create just for myself without thinking of sending the piece somewhere or needing to make multiple for sale. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I’m trying to finish some of the projects that were set aside in favor of production. I’m finding I love creating for friends, family, and exchanging work with other artists.

Writing

This is the hardest for me to talk about. From the second grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Growing up and into college, I took workshops and classes. Wrote poetry and short stories. Alternated between hearing that I was a brilliant writer, or I sucked. Listened to those stupid, annoying, and wrong people that said I sucked, and didn’t write for ten years. The stories wouldn’t let me go though, and with a nudge from my best friend – ok, actually a push – I jumped back into the world of stories.

I’ll admit that I haven’t finished any of them yet. There are eight total, all carrying varying degrees of weight around in my head and heart. I realize part of it is still dealing with my friend’s passing, as she was a constant catalyst for forward motion. And my beta reader. And the one I gave my work to first with complete trust. Finding that inspiration to write again is challenging.

The other aspect to all is the desire to fulfill my dream of becoming a full time writer. I’m realizing that all it’s doing is putting pressure on my stories – are they clever enough? Am I showing, not telling? Are the characters real and developed? Do the plots zing? Is there enough humor in the writing? And on, and on, and on. It’s enough to drive a writer mad and stop the creative flow. Performance anxiety, or something of that nature.

The only way to stop the pressure it to dissolve the dream. Take away the parameters, and the cage, that my writing is surrounded by. Decide not to care if I ever publish anything or if anyone besides me reads my work. Let it go. Does that seem counter intuitive? Perhaps, but it is the only thing that makes sense. I’ve tried everything else. I’ve listened to advice, followed it, tried other ideas, discarded them. The only thing left is to just let go.

It’s actually a freeing thought rather than a disappointment. My terms for creativity is that there are none. I’m not giving up creativity – it’s a part of my very essence. To be clear:

  • I am a horsewoman
  • I am a crafter
  • I am a writer

Just on my terms, and without the pressure. I am joy.

 

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Crafty Projects

Wanted to show off a few of my latest craft projects. Now that I’ve stopped sewing as a business and am doing it just for me, I’m having lots more fun.

First up, a quilted bag to carry my writing and reading materials around in. This is a neat pattern from Lazy Girl Designs. The strap has a zipper so it can be worn as a shoulder bag or a backpack.

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The second item is a bag for my horse riding helmet since the original cover ripped. I used the same drawstring and catch. The old cover became a pattern base, and luckily the helmet fits.
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Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Transitioning Focus

Dear friends,

I have closed my Etsy shop and decided to focus on my writing. After working with my most excellent life coach, I’ve finally realized that what I yearn for most is to have my stories come to life. I’m finally giving them the space and time that they deserve, and I do mean that literally. I’m transitioning Heart of Autumn to reflect this renewed venture, and would love to have you join me as I meander about the story pathways.

Crafting and art quilts will always be a large part of my life. I’ll be posting my creations here too, so Etsy friends, I’d love to have you stick around if you choose.

I’m excited to be here and have this new direction. It feels authentic and right for me. Off to find the magic within.
Bright Blessings.

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Time Travelers Extravaganza!

Please note! This most excellent group of artisans, the Time Travelers Team on Etsy, is having a sale! The shops listed below are all offering a surprise savings when using the coupon code EXTRAVAGANZA! Visit these fabulous shops, and fall in love with their creations! Sale runs through June 8th! We’re here – http://www.etsy.com/teams/9087/time-travelers-team

1. Moonspell www.etsy.com/shop/MoonspellCrafts
2. AgentofChaos www.etsy.com/shop/AgentOfChaos
3. DemBones www.etsy.com/shop/dembones
4. Scarletrabbit www.etsy.com/shop/Scarletrabbit
5. ZojjaUniquelyYou www.etsy.com/shop/Zojjauniquelyyou
6. GothAndGeekery www.etsy.com/shop/GothAndGeekery
7. Lizzesbeautifulart www.etsy.com/shop/LizzesBeautifulArt
8. RomanticaNocturnis www.etsy.com/shop/RomanticaNocturnis
9. Dovanna www.etsy.com/shop/Dovanna
10. RavensCrafts www.etsy.com/shop/RavensCrafts
11. StephaniePayan www.etsy.com/shop/StephaniePayan
12. TheWhisperingWorld www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhisperingWorld
13. Boitifole www.etsy.com/shop/Boitifole
14. Caitlinjohns www.etsy.com/shop/caitlinjohns
15.EquineAnnihilation www.etsy.com/shop/EquineAnnihilation
16.chrisoscreations www.etsy.com/shop/ChrisOsCreations
17 BeaPearson0626 www.etsy.com/shop/BeaPearson0626
18. FyreShadow www.etsy.com/shop/FyreShadow
19. balmyatticarts www.etsy.com/shop/balmyatticarts
20. MadScientistsDesigns www.etsy.com/shop/MadScientistsDesigns
21. JupitersHaven www.etsy.com/shop/JupitersHaven
22. TimelessAvenue www.etsy.com/shop/TimelessAvenue
24. Creaturosity www.etsy.com/shop/Creaturosity
25. Jansbeads www.etsy.com/shop/jansbeads
26. DarkBeautyBoutique www.etsy.com/shop/DarkBeautyBoutique
27. Biagreen www.etsy.com/shop/Biagreen
28. kindredimages www.etsy.com/shop/KindredImages
29. heartofautumn www.etsy.com/shop/heartofautumn
30. prettyandshiny www.etsy.com/shop/prettyandshiny
31. deepmidnightperfumes www.etsy.com/shop/deepmidnightperfumes

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Tree in Progress

I’ve discovered that when I work on a quilt, I hate it. Until it’s finished, my work just looks…wrong. I’ll piece or applique a section wondering if it’s really going to come out like the vision in my head. And then I start quilting. The commentary running through my head is – what the heck was I thinking to stitch like that?

Take for instance my current piece. I have high hopes for this wallhanging as it’s the second time I’ve worked with this design, so I figured I’ve worked out the bugs already. Yeah, right…I edge stitched and free motion quilted the tree. And it looked ok to me. So this morning I moved on to the braided duponi silk. I stitched the first circle and all I could think was that I ruined the quilt. Instead of abandoning the project, which was honestly my first thought, I decided to keep going and add more. Ignoring the doubt monster, who was telling me I was crazy for continuing since the piece obviously was ruined, I added a couple more lines of circle quilting following the braid. Once I finished and really looked at the overall composition, I’ve finally been able to realize that it’s ok, and that I need to keep going.

That’s what I’ve taken away more from this work in progress. I don’t like the piece until it’s right. As soon as I start to like what I’ve done I know I’m ready to move on to the next part. Hopefully the next time I feel like tossing my work out the window I remember to just keep going forward instead.

Back to the studio to deal with the rest of the issues in the quilt and convince myself that I will find solutions and I will like the quilt in the end.

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

When the Doors Open

With the opening of my Etsy shop, I’ve been cautiously hoping that I can make enough from selling my crafts online to pay for the cost of leasing a horse, which I started doing in May. That’s been my entire goal at this point, though I secretly hope to make my crafts (and writing!) even more viable in my life than they are now. One step at the time though; getting ahead of myself is something I’m really good at doing. Luckily I have a husband who gently keeps me in check with reality.

Yet I’ve been sending out energy into the cosmos with the intention of being able to at least make up for the cost of my lease horse. I know I have so much more to do with building my Etsy site into a viable storefront, but if directing energy that way could do it all, it would be a profitable business already. My thought has always been if something is meant to be, the doors will open (or maybe a window) that will lead the way.

I’m thrilled to say that the door opened for me – a local gift shop has asked to carry my items in their shop. Completely unexpected, but I will say that having my shop on Etsy and the connections I’ve made with fellow Mainers there helped create that opportunity. Now that the gates have decided to open, I have to take that step through the door. I’m excited, and nervous, and in the back of my head wondering what I’m getting myself into. I asked for this though, and I’m ready.

My hubby is there to keep me tethered to the earth so I don’t hit my head on the door jamb floating through the doorway.