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January 02, 2024
I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas/New Years holiday. I know that we did. I even snuck in an afternoon nap on Christmas Day which never happens. Covid invaded our home mid-December so once that vacated, it was a mad dash to the finish line to get everything done and ready for Santa's arrival but, we made it - hence the afternoon nap.
Time was spent with family and friends, we did a big clean up/purge, I caught a theatre production of Chicago and we ate until our pants decided to no longer fit. I mean, who invented pants with buttons anyway?
It was also a time to look back on an incredible year and set our sights to 2024. I'm not really a resolution person though. Do I want to fit into pants that have buttons again? Maybe, but I'm not going to join a gym and exist on lettuce and water to make that happen. Do I want to do my system a solid and stop eating cookies for breakfast? That's a little more do-able - lol!
I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't feel the pressure to do anything just because everyone else is doing it. We're getting inundated with FB ads telling us that we need to shape up and eat better. Don't feel the pressure to do this just because it's that time of year to do so - do it because you genuinely want to.
My plans for this year are to read 5 more books than last year, to make more time for loved ones, to spend less money on yarn (not), to love myself more and to go on more dates with my husband.
Give yourself grace as you move through the year. Life is to be enjoyed during the busy and quiet moments.
August 23, 2023
It's a grey, rainy kind of day here so let's ignore that nonsense and chat about craft room organization instead. Whether you are working with a small niche of a space or if you are lucky enough to have a full sized room, your crafty bits and bobs need a place to live. Here's a peak at what I have done in my craft studio to organize my bits and bobs.
1 - Shelves! The hill I will forever die on is that you need shelving. If your craft area is big enough, then invest in floor to ceiling type shelving. IKEA is a great place to start as you can build out different options based on your space and needs. As you can see in the photo below, I put three shelves together to utilize this huge wall space.
2 - Cubes and Totes! Now that you have the shelves, let's organize the smaller things. Garage sales and trips to your local craft store is a good place to start for bins and baskets. If you are familiar with Thirty-One Gifts, they are a direct sales company that has a great selection of totes and bins to keep everything in one spot. That's the key - containment!! If you are a matchy matchy kind of soul (like myself), then you can colour coordinate to your hearts content.
3 - Custom Pieces! Depending on what you are looking to organize, there are companies out there that specialize in custom pieces tailored to certain products. Stamp N Storage is one of those companies that have custom storage pieces to fit tools from Stampin Up, and Creative Memories to name a few. They are well built and very sturdy!
4 - The Quirky Fun Pieces! I love strolling through local craft fairs for unique, handmade finds. These 3 adorable pieces seen below hold my go-to sewing supplies. It also adds a cute and unique touch to your space!
I hope this peek into my studio lends a few ideas. While it can be fun trying to figure out where to put everything, it can also be overwhelming. It has taken me 6 years to get everything where I wanted it to be so take your time with this process! Xx
August 01, 2023
I am a creature of habit - there I've said it. I find comfort in routine and being able to set my clock to those daily tasks. I love planning ahead, and I feel comfort when everything is in its spot.
To jump outside of that comfort zone? What?? Why would someone choose to take part in this crazy trend?
We are raised to go to school, find a job/career, get married, buy a house and keep working to maintain whatever lifestyle you have set for yourself. So, I carved out a career in IT recruiting, met the boy, got married, bought the house and started raising kids. Did I love my career? Yes and no. It was fun and I felt like I was making a difference for those who craved a new career for themselves. However, it wasn't a job where I leapt out of bed every morning with determination nor did I feel 100% fulfilled. Having said all of that, life was good, there was routine and we were shuffling through life raising little kids and doing "the norm".
Fast forward to the year before I turned 40. My hubby and I started tossing around the idea of having me stay at home full time with the kids. His career had him travelling quite a bit so it made sense for me to manage our life full time. At first, I balked at the idea. I loved having a career and I loved being able to contribute financially to our household income. However, that was also the same year where I started to forget things like picture day or crazy hair day. My eldest had also joined the volleyball team at school but I could never catch any of his games because they happened while I was at work.
Once the ball dropped on NYE, on the year I turned 40, my perspective on life changed in an instant. Here I was given a chance to spend more time with my kids and get involved with their lives, school and sports. Why was I struggling with this decision? Oh right, it meant an upheaval to the routine that I felt I needed and life was comfortable and predictable.
In the end, I dove into the world of my kids and LOVED IT! I flipped pancakes at their school, organized fundraisers and blared the latest tunes while carting the kids and their friends to baseball and soccer tournaments.
While I loved being a full time Mum, the kids were in school full time so I was getting a little bored during the day. So, I took another step outside of that comfort zone and opened up the Shoppe. Did I know anything about running a small handmade business? Nope, but I have learned (and continue to learn) the ins and outs along the way and I fell in love with what I do. It's exciting to watch something that began as a crazy idea, begin to take root and grow.
Now that I'm becoming famous for shaking up my routine and comfort zone, I decided to fly over to Scotland with my best friends of 30 years and take on the West Highland Way. The "Way" is a 155km hiking trek that we did over 8 days. I mean, let's be real here, I'm the least outdoorsy person on earth. I don't camp unless it's in a cottage with a dishwasher, I have never hiked to the degree where I needed a pack or trail shoes and I love A/C. However, this was a chance to get my feet on my ancestral roots and do something completely out of the norm.
This experience really pushed us to our limits. The terrain was rough and it rained every single day (every.single.day), but the laughter and tears we shed on this journey far outweighed the pain. It was an unbelievable experience - one that I still can't quite put into words.
What I'm trying to say, is that this so called comfort zone that we nestle into is a great place to be - especially for those who crave routine. However, wonderful things happen when you push yourself outside that zone. The great thing about all of this is, is that if you step out and it doesn't work out, you can go back and try again. The important part is that you keep trying.
May 09, 2023
Nature therapy is a thing - no really, it is! People who know, know exactly what I'm talking about.
In the past, I didn't put too much stock into this being "a thing". 2 of my dearest friends have sworn by the power of walking and soaking in the sights and smells of a nature trail. Those friends and I then decided to celebrate 30 years of friendship by heading "across the pond" to tackle the West Highland Way in Scotland.
The West Highland Way is a self guided walking trek starting from Milngavie and ending in Fort William. It's a bit of a doozy for distance clocking in at 154km so we're doing it over 8 days. The view of the mountains are working very hard against the voices saying "What, are you crazy for attempting this?"
To get ready for this craziness, I bought a fancy new pair of trail shoes and I started pounding out the km on a trail by my house. I decided that breaking in my new shoes and working up my endurance was a pretty smart idea so I don't die somewhere on the outskirts of Loch Lomond. The more I got out though, the more I started to soak in the sights and smells of the trees. Whether it rained or whether the sun was peaking through, I started to understand why people did this.
On Easter Sunday, I decided to head out in the morning to get a good walk in before my family came for dinner. It was sunny, the weather was a tad cool and it was a quiet morning on the trail. Out of nowhere, I started crying....! There was no warning for the tears but they came and they came hard. It's hard to pinpoint a reason for why this happened so suddenly. Perhaps I was feeling sad because our kids are growing up and doing awesome things with their lives. It could also be that I'm working through some childhood trauma and felt a little extra vulnerable that morning. With all of that going on, I guess I had some stored up "stuff" that needed to be released.
Whatever the reason for the tears, nature therapy became a very real thing for me that morning and now I go on trail walks for different reasons than the ones I started out with. My feet will understand this over time right? Xx
March 14, 2023
Last month, my aunt sent me a link to a crafty project that was due to start at the beginning of March. Anita, a lovely crochet designer based in the U.K., was commissioned by a yarn shop to design a blanket for the upcoming coronation of King Charles III. When this was announced everyone was quick to snag the yarn kit which included balls of pretty yarn and a commemorative label to add to your finished project. We found out about this project well after the fact so yarn kits were sold out however, we were able to piece together our yarn needs from a couple of different stockists from London. We couldn't use Canadian yarn for a project like this right? lol
Here is the finished blanket - I mean, the colours are simply beautiful.
Now, my crochet skills are very VERY basic only knowing the two main stitches, single and double crochet, so I was a little nervous about starting a project that looked way out of my league. However, being a Royalist and having an excuse to buy pretty yarn threw logic right out the window.
This is my first official Crochet a Long (CAL) and so far, I am LOVING it! Each week, a new part of the pattern is released which is great for a beginner. It means we only have to focus on small parts of the project at a time instead of feeling overwhelmed by staring at the entire pattern. The weekly release also includes how-to videos by the designer which helps those of us who are visual learners. Lastly, I'm part of a group on FB of lovely folks who are working on the same project and are at the ready with answers to questions that come up.
I have a feeling that this will be the first of many CAL's I take part in...and I'm currently taking wagers on how close to finished product I will get :)
If you want to make your own coronation keepsake, then follow the link below for more info.
February 06, 2023
I recently joined a 6 week sewing class. A friend of mine was going to sign up and I thought it would be a great way to stay occupied over the dreary winter months. In this class, we met a woman who signs up for a new class/hobby every year to try it out. So far she has done painting, crocheting and is now in this sewing class. I thought it was such a great way to try new things without having to "buy all the stuff" unless you want to keep up with your new hobby.
One thing I have found within my business is that anything DIY is where the party is at. For the last few years, my card making kits have proven to be a big hit for those who are new to card making or, who love to make and give handmade cards. I decided to expand my kit offerings and send everyone to the sewing machine to make quilted coaster sets. Sewing and fabric are two of my favourite things so I'm trying to convince others to join the dark side - lol!
Many have shared with me how they have purchased my kits as an excuse to to get together with friends for some crafty fun and I mean, this sounds like a perfect afternoon to me!
If you want to dabble in something new, you can find my available Craft Kits through the link below: https://thecraftshoppecanada.com/collections/craft-kits