Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Stash Along January: Inventory

Welcome to the first official Stash Along challenge: Inventory.

I'd first like to remind everyone of the purpose of the Stash Along. To use stash, and, if it's your intent, to reduce the amount of stash you have so there is less clutter and noise in your life.

What do I mean by Inventory? I mean knowing exactly what you have, and how much of it you have. I personally add to my stash, and add, and add. I regularly go through the stash to remind myself of what I have.

This also includes moving some stash along to other places.

So here's the challenge:

Pick a day that you have a lot of time open.

Pull out your ENTIRE stash. Take it out of it's boxes, bins, bags, and drawers. All of it must come out of storage. Pile it on a table, or the floor, or anywhere that's not it's containers.

Then go through it.

If you are the super organized type of person, catalog it. Use a notebook, a spreadsheet, whatever. Find a system that works for you: Organize by intent. Organize by size or color. If you're like me, just make a mental note that you still have that and can use it for this project or that project.

Now, don't get overwhelmed. Or maybe do. Being overwhelmed by stash is what motivated me in the first place to get this going in my life. I don't like feeling like I'm being suffocated by clutter and unfortunately my stash started to feel that way.

Don't worry! Over the next few weeks I will be publishing posts on my methods of tackling the stash. And hopefully it will help you get going! I feel like this is the best challenge for January because it will set you up to have a successful year working with your stash!

Please feel free to comment here on the blog with how it's going for you, and use the hashtags on Instagram #stashalong2017 and #stashalongjanuary so we can see how you are interpreting and tackling this challenge!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Stash Along 2017: Join Me!

I recently wrote about re-thinking my priorities, and how I'm going to focus more on my Want To than the Have To. As part of that process I starting thinking about how I could go about one of my Want To items, using up the stash.

Now, Project Leasa did a Sew My Stash challenge a couple of years ago, and I sort of participated, but not really. She chose a niche market for it and it worked for her. Me, not so much. But I liked the concept of people joining together. People all participated and encouraged each other, cheered each other on, and shared how they interpreted and executed each challenge. 

So, I decided to create a Stash Along for the year 2017. Why a Stash Along?

Stash can be materials other than fabric. It can be yarn. It could be paper craft materials. It could be paints or ribbons or whatever. A Stash Along is much more universal.

I have been brainstorming ideas for each month, and think we can pull it off. Follow along with the hashtag #stashalong2017 on Instagram, as well as monthly tags. I plan on posting each month's challenge a week early so you can start brainstorming and planning your execution of it. Stay tuned for January's theme being posted right after Christmas. 

I hope you choose to join in! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I've had quite a few life changes in the past five months or so. And when you have life changes, you start to re-think a lot of things. For me, I've been thinking about what my priorities need to be, even though this is the first time I've labelled them as such.

I've been trying to rid our lives of clutter, physical and mental clutter. So I've given away a lot of my fabric and even quite a bit of yarn. (I will write about the process in the coming weeks.) I have been through my clothes multiple times as well as some other odds and ends around the house and donated them to  Goodwill.

While all this physical clutter moving out has helped me a lot, I still felt there was too much clutter in my life. There's too much asking for my time, attention, and energy. I keep putting things off or ignoring them because I have all this other stuff screaming for my attention that other people asked me to do.

I realized, I have a lot of Want To-s, and they aren't happening because I keep saying yes to other things. That commitment turns those things into Have To-s. And I don't like that I don't get to do any of my Want To-s.

So, I've decided. I closed the Etsy shop. I plan on this being temporary, but wouldn't mind it becoming permanent. I've given away the inventory, after keeping a few items for myself and my baby (3 items, only 3). A few partially finished items will be finished and then... I'm not sure what will happen to them after that. And that's fine.

I will be finishing up the two custom orders I have in process currently. And then, no more.

I will knit and sew what I want to. Not what someone else asked me for. Not what I think might do well in the shop. What I want to, for me and my family.

And I feel really good about this decision.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Plant Propagation: An Update

Over a year ago I posted about some plants I was attempting to propagate. I recently realized it would probably be nice to update all of you on the plants, and how successful (or not) the experiment has been.

Firstly, I didn’t realize it’s been over a year since I propagated them. Otherwise I would have updated in July when it was only a year since I began the experiment.

The Devil’s Ivy:

This was the plant that I liked the color of, but didn’t know what it was exactly. After a couple of months, I looked it up and found out it’s Devil’s Ivy, a common houseplant but not safe if you have pets that like to chew on plants.

I feel this plant is by far the most successful of the group. I eventually broke it into two, one for home and one for my classroom. However, I’m on leave this year so they both are at home with me. One got left outside on the porch (because we have one now!) a little too long and got sunburned.  It’s still alive though, and when I did my repotting it got a new pot, and is currently living in the spare room (which I call my office in my head). It’s not as sunny in there and should give this plant a chance to revive itself.

The other is on top of our bookshelf in the living room. It’s a good spot, I think, because it’s out of the reach of children and husbands. Plus, it’s vines are starting to grow really well, and I think it will look nice when they get long enough to drape down the shelf a bit.

The Baby Jade:

This one barely survived the classroom last year. I realized that a child was picking on this one. Literally. I never caught the child in the act, but after class I would find the leaves with little crescent fingernail marks on it. I decided to rescue it and take it home.

Once home it recovered and in the past few months, since we moved, it has really thrived. I realized that it perhaps wasn’t propagating like the mother plant because it was in such a small container. 

When I repotted it, I gave it a larger pot, and buried it a little deeper, in the hopes that it would become more stable. It was so tall in the small pot that it started to lean and I was worried it would break in half and I would no longer have a Baby Jade.

The Succulents:

The succulents unfortunately did not survive the classroom. They were the same as the Baby Jade, I kept finding them with fingernail marks on the leaves. For whatever reason they never really took root either.

 The Spider Plants:

These did really well too. Until we moved. When we moved I decided that these could live outside, since most Spider Plants I’ve seen do well outside in partial sun. Our porch only gets afternoon sun, so it seemed like they would be ok.

And they were. Sort of. It looks like they’ve been picked on by birds or bugs or something. I’m not sure.

Being honest here, these poor plants got pretty neglected being outside this summer. So that’s probably why. It was a long, super-hot summer and those plants needed to be watered more than they got over the summer. They would have done better if they had been watered better, I think.

Anyway. I repotted them when I repotted everything else.  I also cleared off some items from the porch so the plants are more prominent and I won’t forget to water them as much because they aren’t hidden. They already are recovering beautifully,

A New One- Pink Bromeliad:

I made John get me this pink bromeliad about a month ago. Maybe more.
It started to die, unfortunately. And after some research I discovered that it’s putting out pups, so the mother plant starts to die. With the re-potting I did, I got this one a new pot. I pulled off some pups and threw them away. One got saved though and put in it’s own pot. The mother plant is in a new pot with new soil as well.

I was told that bromeliads are easy care so hopefully at least the mother plant survives. Because John said if I kill it, we aren’t allowed to have pets or children. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Finished Object Roll Call: October 2016


A custom ordered hat for a cute little girl: 

Skeins Out for the month: 4
Skeins in: 8 (unfortunately I ran out of white to finish the Christmas stocking order)


The BCLogCabin Swap Quilt top

And Two Fleece Blankets, possibly for Project Linus. 

If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shoutout to My Husband

Lately I’ve been struggling to keep up with things for health related reasons (minor, very normal things, don’t worry). And it’s been really hard on me to get through a day and feel like I did absolutely nothing.

You see, when we get to the end of the day I don’t see the load of laundry I did, the bed that got made, or the toilet that actually got cleaned. I see the laundry still sitting in the dryer, kitchen floor that wasn’t mopped and the dishes that are still in the sink. And everything else that was on the list for the day that just didn’t get done. And it’s hard. It’s hard because I know that a few months ago it would have been really easy to get everything done in a day, and still have time left over for some reading on the porch or some sewing or knitting and Netflix. 

But right now I just can’t do it.

As I was browsing through old pictures and blog post ideas I ran across this picture:

And I realized what a great husband I have. He came home the other day, and I again apologized for the house being a mess and that things didn’t get cleaned up. And you know what he did? He saw the load of laundry in the dryer and said, “You got the laundry done, and that counts.”

Dang. He’s good at this One is better than None thing.

He’s also been very patient and will get the dishes done when I don’t get to them. We’ll fold the laundry together. He’ll even cook dinners when he gets home early enough. And while I still feel bad that I can’t get them all done, I love that he will help me out and make me feel a little better by crossing some things off my list for me, and encouraging me for the things I do get done.

Even when it’s one load of laundry that’s still in the dryer. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Design Wall: I don't have one

A couple of years ago I decided to dip my toe into the world of quilting. As some of you know, I love sewing, and have for years. I even worked professionally as a seamstress for several years and I still dabble in that every now and then. Over the years though, I’ve found that being a seamstress seems to be the exception in the sewing hobby world. It seems that quilting is what a lot of people are doing, and when I go to buy fabric it’s the assumption of whoever is helping me in the shop that I am working on a quilt.

But, this post isn’t about people making assumptions, or how wonderful other forms of sewing can be, it’s about something that I discovered when I entered the world of quilting.

The Design Wall.

You see, almost every book or online tutorial I ran across references the use of the Design Wall. I had no idea what that meant or why it seemed so NECESSARY to have one. I did some online sleuthing and discovered a tutorial on how to make one, which was infinitely helpful to my understanding of what it was.

Basically, you commandeer a wall in your house, cover it with batting or flannel, and when you make a quilt you put the pieces up on this wall so you can see what the quilt will look like before you finalize the design. Pretty nifty.

If you are retired and don’t have young children and own your home and have enough room to have a dedicated quilting room.

For those of us who aren’t so lucky, here’s my system to use instead of the Design Wall.

Alternative Design Walls

         The Living Room Floor

This is my first go- to spot to lay out the quilt pieces to finalize the design. One of my favorite memories of this was when my dad walked in on my perched on top of the couch staring down at a quilt. He asked how it was going, and I said, “Something isn’t right.” He then left me to continue staring. (I did fix it, just had to move a couple squares to different spots.)

The big benefit to using the floor is that you can do what a lot of people say the benefit of a design wall is; you can back up (or in my case, climb up) and get  the Big Picture of the quilt to see if it is balanced, and visually the way you would like it to be. 

This method, like the next one, does require some planning and quick execution. I wait until I have all the pieces made and ready to go. Then I have to plan for a time when my husband is gone, preferably to work so I know I have a couple of hours if something else takes my time.

When the appointed time comes, I move the rocking chairs and other various items scattered across the living room floor (a good excuse to do a quick clean and vacuum if you have the time). Then I throw the pieces of the quilt down. Well, not literally, there is some thought behind it. I arrange them, and rearrange until I have the design that is needed.


The Bed

This is the same as the Living Room Floor, just a little more contained. If you have a smaller quilt, it’s quite easy to do on the bed, given you have a larger bed.

Again you have to plan for a time when family members will not be put out by this. I mean, we like our sleep in this household and that includes naps!

A positive to this one is if you have young children running about. If distracted by them, you can just leave the pieces on the bed, and shut the bedroom door while you tend to the child. Or cat, or dog, or husband.

You just clear the bed (there always seems to be laundry in need of folding on ours) and lay out the pieces, arranging them until you get the design right.

A negative to this method, for me at least, is that it's harder to get the Big Picture of the quilt since I can't be above it. 

Now for the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS whether you are using the floor or the bed. Take pictures of the final layout of the quilt. You will not remember. Even if you stack the blocks a certain way, with a ‘method’. You won’t remember what the order or method was six months later when you finally get on with actually sewing the blocks together.

Note that the picture on the right has the same blocks as the picture on the left. The right blocks in the right pic, and the left blocks in the left pic. 

I will take a picture of the full quilt, if possible, and then do close ups. I do close ups of 4 or 6 blocks or so. And I overlap the pictures so I know that I’m getting everything where it was planned to be. Take more pictures than you think you need.  These pictures stay in a safe place (on the camera) until the quilt top is completed.

My most recent project included multiple steps of assembling. So, I took pictures of each step to doubly insure that everything worked out the way I originally planned. It was a log cabin block, that got assembled into bigger log cabins, then the final product. So I took pictures of the small blocks laid out, then the larger assembled blocks, and now the final quilt top.

Hopefully for those of you who are new to quilting this has been helpful. And helped you feel a bit better about not having a fancy Design Wall to work with in your house. I honestly don’t think I will ever have one, I’ve got family pictures that belong on the wall not quilts in progress! 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Don't Do This to Make Extra Money

There are a lot of ways to make some extra income in your spare time. Tons. Answering surveys online, tutoring, babysitting, selling things on eBay, offering services on Fiverr or TakeLessons, heck people even make money blogging!

But I have one piece of advice on something you should NOT do to make extra money. Brace yourselves for this.

Don’t make crafts and sell them on Etsy.

Now, this is a popular addition to blog posts and articles about making extra money, because you can make money from making things and selling them on Etsy. However, a major reason I tell people to not do this is because you don’t do it right.

As someone who does sell on Etsy, and elsewhere, it is very difficult to actually make money from it. Why? Because of folks out there who think to themselves, “Hey, I like to make _______, I should make a bunch and sell them!”

But, I can hear you saying, you just said that you sell on Etsy and elsewhere. Aren’t you one of those people who makes stuff and tries to sell it?

Yes, yes I am. But I treat it like a business. What do I mean by that? Well let me start off by saying why I don’t like the fly by night crafters who are just trying to make a quick buck.

  •      They use the cheapest material they can.
  •      They don’t time themselves and charge a living hourly wage based on skill level, cost of materials, and overhead (gas, postage, packaging, etc.)
  •       They are amateurs- meaning they haven’t worked professionally in the field, or they don’t take classes to learn or improve skills, and they just kind of do it when they want to.
  •      They price to sell, not to live
All of these things undermine those of us who are trying to actually ‘ do it right’. I can’t compete with a lady using $2 WalMart yarn to make hats, that take her four hours to make each,  and sell them for $5 a pop.  It’s just not possible.

Not only that, but that becomes the expectation on sites like Etsy and at craft markets and fairs. Customers can no longer identify quality over price.

As an example, if I were to make a hat using yarn that I would buy and use for myself, the yarn alone would cost $20. If I’m careful with it I might get two hats out of it. So, $10 in materials only. Then there’s the whole 4 hours to actually make the hat. Charging a fair wage based on my experience (10 years of knitting, professional seamstress for three years, and university educated in costume design, and continually attending workshops and classes to learn new skills and improve my current skill set) and performing what would be considered “Skilled Labor” (think what you pay your mechanic or doctor), I would expect about $15 an hour. You also need to factor in the time it took to go to the store, buy the yarn, the mileage to and from the store and post office, plus the time it took to package and mail your hat to you. Don’t forget postage. I’m in to one hat almost $100.

People look at your $5 acrylic Walmart hat, and my $100 handmade wool hat and only see the dollar signs.

There are people out there who rely on platforms like Etsy and craft fairs as their sole income. If they can’t sell because there are amateurs to compete with on price, then their families starve.  They lose their house because they can’t make the mortgage payment.

All because you think you can make a quick buck by producing a craft product cheaply and selling it.

So, if that is your plan I ask you to PLEASE DON’T DO IT. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Finished Object Roll Call: September 2016

I feel like I had a pretty productive month compared to the last few! Go me! 


Finally Finished the pair of neon socks for myself. (still need to figure out what to do with the rest of the skein.) 

Four, yes FOUR Custom Ordered Christmas Stockings
(Fifth is started but not completed) 

And One Baby Hat as part of the stashbusting project. 

Skeins Out for the month: 4
Skeins in: 8 (unfortunately I ran out of white to finish the Christmas stocking order)


Some prototype Burp Cloths

I have plans to revamp the Etsy shop and getting some new products is a huge part of that. Keep an eye out for some tutorials and new items on the blog! (and in the shop.)

If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why I Love Yarn

It’s night and I’m sitting here at my desk looking at these two skeins of yarn I wound earlier today.

I had the intention to at least cast on one of them, but didn’t get to it today. Usually I would be a bit disappointed in myself, and frustrated that I didn’t make my “goals” for the day. But today, I don’t feel that way.

I’m just sitting here, and enjoying them. As I was writing in my journal, overlooked by this yarn, I realized one of the reasons I love yarn (and fabric) is that it has potential. It’s a material that has infinite potential. These balls of yarn could become absolutely anything. There’s no telling what they may turn out to be.

And I love that. I really love that.

I will cast on tomorrow, or maybe the day after. I’m not sure yet, but until them I’m just going to enjoy this yarn on my desk and the potential that it holds.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Missionary Work is not Exclusionary

The other night I had some people over. It was an interesting group and part way through the night I noticed something that made me uncomfortable as a hostess.

You see, I have different groups of friends: work, school, church, and folks I met socially. This night I had folks over from all of those groups. It was still a small gathering, though.

What I noticed is that the church people were dominating the discussion with very church centric conversation. What was going on with who at church, mostly. In a word, gossip.

Not only that, but every neutral topic I tried to steer the conversation towards got turned back to religion. I mentioned something about the lack of some books at the library and was immediately told,

“Oh, that’s a Mormon author.”

To which I responded that something like that doesn’t matter, and if that is the basis of the exclusion of those books why were other authors, who happened to be Mormon, represented at the library? (And yes, I named names and book titles.) Not only could the person who brought the religious leaning of the author into the conversation not explain this discrepancy, they couldn’t adequately explain why they brought it up in the first place. I mean, a fiction book is a fiction book, right? None of those authors are considered to be in the “Christian Literature” genre of writing.

As I thought this over, I think they weren’t doing it on purpose, and if they were perhaps they thought it was a missionary opportunity.

But it wasn’t. It was exclusionary.

And as a hostess I felt horrible that half of the guests had no idea what was being talked about, and had no way to contribute to the conversation. As sad as it is, I will not be inviting some of these people over again unless it is a church exclusive group. And it doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon. I have friends outside of church who I value and treasure and want to be a part of my life, thank you very much.

I can’t help but conclude that it is behavior like this that can give the church a bad reputation. Not only were these people gossiping, and they tried really hard to get me to participate which really bothered me, but they were excluding a large part of the room. In other words, they were alienating people because they do not attend church with us. This is the same as excluding people based on things like gender, ethnicity, and even political leanings or education level.

And that’s NOT what the church is about. At. All.

So, I would like to ask you all to take a moment and reflect on your interactions in group settings. Are you perhaps excluding others in a way like this, purposefully or not? What can you do to change that?

Then go out and do it!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How to Sell Your Stuff on Facebook: A Buyer's Perspective

 I’ve been a member of a Facebook Yard Sale group for about a year now, and in that year I have both bought and sold items in this group. (Mostly bought.) If you are like me, you may be on Pinterest a lot… and you may have run into pins that lead to blog posts on how to sell your stuff on these Facebook type groups, as well as Craigslist and Ebay.

What bothers me about these posts, is they all seem to have some type of “learn from a seasoned seller” or “learn from my mistakes as a seller” aspect to them. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but in my experience and education I’ve learned that it is more important to know what the buyer thinks. Great you know how to sell because you are a seller. But do you know how to sell because you are a buyer?
Here’s one buyer’s advice on how to sell me you stuff!


I hate it when a post for an item that I may want says “Message for prices”.  I don’t even click on these ones.
Just as bad are the ones that are listed as “Free” or “$1” in the header, then in the post there is a price listed that is not “free” or “$1”
Finally, don’t tell me how much you paid, that you’re just ‘trying to get your money back’, or how much it’s “worth”. I don’t care. I care about getting a good deal. Just give me the price.


If the picture is blurry…
If it has bad lighting…
If the item is not clearly shown/only partially shown…
If the room it is in is cluttered…
I WILL not click for more info.


While the others are also pet peeves, this one is by far the most annoying. Why? If I get to the point where I want to see the info on the item, such as what the size is, this means I have already seen the price and pictures and am willing to seriously consider buying.
If there isn’t a size on the items (clothes and shoes are the items that need sizes stated) then I will pass. You honestly could have had a sale, if you had just said “Boots Size 6” instead of “Women’s Boots”

                Grammar and Spelling

I am averse to doing business with someone who cannot correctly spell what it is that they are trying to sell. Or someone who uses bad grammar. For example they "Want 2 sale baby cloths". (Want to sell baby clothes.)

To me this is a red flag that the person either doesn’t know the worth of what they are selling and will not negotiate down on their prices, or they are trying to scam me.

Yes. One group I belong to has notorious scammers. As in, posted an item, took payment, never delivered. Most recently it was posted and item, sold, delivered, then cut off communication with the buyer when they discover cockroaches in the item. Even blocked the buyer from contacting them claiming harassment.

                Not Negotiating

If you are selling on Facebook, it is the same as selling on Craigslist, or even doing a yard sale. People are looking for a deal and will haggle over the price. You have to be willing to work with them if you want to sell. Remember, you are selling to make more room in your house or to get some quick cash. If you want a specific price on an item, price higher so the buyer can negotiate down and still feel like they got a good deal. Or find another avenue to sell on where negotiation is not as common.
Writing in the post that the “price is firm” or “non-negotiable” will lead me to pass.

                Bonus Tip: First to Contact

In groups like this, it sells on a First Comment, First Serve basis. Then a queue is formed and if the first person passes or flakes out it moves to the next person. Last week I was first to comment on an item that we really need. I was ready to buy on the spot. I commented less than 10 minutes after the post went up.

I was told it was sold already. And I. Was. Mad. If you sell an item, or it’s PPU (pending pick up), put that on the posting the SECOND IT HAPPENS. I actually complained to the moderator of the group, yet again because this has happened several times to me from several different sellers, at least one of them is now blocked from the group.

If the item is cross-posted, say so. This item was not listed as cross posted but for it have already sold it HAD to have been. I wouldn’t have been so angry if the seller had stated it was cross posted, or had put in the listing that it was PPU. Here, over a week later and that post still does not say it was sold, and when I followed up to buy, the seller did not return my inquiry. A simple, “It’s sold.” Would suffice.

Happy Selling! 

And there you have it. 5 tips to sell on Facebook from someone who actually buys! While these may be the same as someone who sells wrote, I hopefully gave you a different perspective on the why behind these tips.

Happy Selling! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Off to a Good Start!

Well, my lovelies. It's September.

I didn't realize that August had ended and that the Finished Object post had posted. With only one little sweater on it. I had high hopes for August.

Of course, trying to wrangle unpacking in a new, smaller apartment threw me for a loop. Add to that the whole not working a 9-5 anymore and being in charge of my own schedule. Which turned super ridiculously crazy for more than one reason the last two weeks or so of August.

But now, it's September. The official start of Fall is coming up and as well all know, Fall is (or should be) the beginning of Sweater Season and Hot Chocolate. I've got a sweater on the needles and will be casting on for another one shortly. If the weather ever decides to cool off here, I'll pull out my winter clothes, which mostly consists of sweaters and a few long sleeve tees, and pack away all the shorts and sandals.

However, the majority of my time in the next few weeks will be spent trying to finish as much of a custom order as I possibly can. 11 Christmas stockings. I've got three done now, with the fourth on the needles.
In fact, September got off to a great start, you see, because on September 1st I finished one of the stockings and used up a ball of yarn. That's two accomplishments on the first day of the month, which is good luck! It means the rest of the month will be (should be) productive and exciting. Here's to hoping that the September Finished Object post if chock full of good things.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Finished Object Roll Call: August 2016

The whole knitting, and sewing thing, has majorly slowed down over the summer for me. But, since I'm not working a 9-5 anymore, I have a little more time to work on things. So here ya go! 


Another Baby Sweater: I used the leftovers from the dress I finished a couple months ago. 


If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Taking the Plunge

Well folks, here we are. It’s the halfway point in August, children have headed back to school, parents are recovering from vacations, and the population in general is hoping for cooler weather now! (at least where I live, it’s been ridiculously hot.)

As the new school year begins, children are eager to start a new adventure. University students are looking forward to their semester, some with dread (shout-out to the grad students out there!). While we often focus on the New Year as a time for new beginnings, the beginning of the school year is just as much a new beginning as the New Year is.

And I am making a new beginning this month. A big, scary, exciting beginning.

You see, when my summer job ended this month, my husband and I decided that I would not go back to work. Full time freelancing it is! This is a temporary experiment, but if it goes well I will not go back to work full time as a teacher.

Those of you who know me, know that not having something to do is absolutely insane for me. I can’t just sit and do nothing. I’m just no longer working a 9-5 job, with bosses and co-workers and rules and stuff.

I’m full time freelancing. And hopefully it works out. Last year I was able to actually pay rent a couple of months from my freelance income, but being a full time student and having two jobs, freelancing was way too hard emotionally and physically. This girl needs her sleep! So I stopped all my income streams except for one job to focus on finishing my Masters and getting my big girl job.

At the beginning of this summer I slowly began to re-start my income streams. It’s slow going, but of course it was the first time around too. Only this time, it’s lot more scary. I mean, before it was ‘extra’ income to go toward debt repayment, retirement, and savings. Now, it’s gotta pay the bills for real.
He seems awfully cheerful for an octopus...

I once heard (possibly on Pinterest) about the octopus method of income. Meaning, you need to create multiple income streams, so if one has a bad month or quarter, you still have 7 more to fall back on. While I don’t have 8, I do have a few up my sleeve.

Here’s the plan:
  • ·         Editing and Proofreading: I’ve reopened my gigs on fiverr. So far I’ve had a few takers, and they are pretty easy. The difference on fiverr this time around though, is I’m not offering APA specific editing. I did last time around and that was the bulk of my work.  Unfortunately, that opened me up to being asked to write term papers for people, not just edit them. I actually contacted the advising professor of a doctoral student who solicited paper writing services from me. If I had to write all my papers for my degrees, you can suck it up and write them too. The upside to now is that most books are quite a bit longer than term papers, so I get a larger payout per job.

  • ·         Etsy: My etsy shop has been hugely neglected. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I got on there and updated. Now that I have more time, I plan to get a lot of sewing done, and post a lot of it on etsy. I’m convinced that while you really want to do a quality job and post amazing, wonderful creations on etsy, it’s also a numbers game. The more items I get up on there, the more likely it is that people will see my work, the more likely I am to find buyers. Right now this isn’t a huge focus of income for me, but it is there.

  • ·         Teaching Lessons: At the beginning of the year,  I posted on takelessons as a sewing and knitting teacher. I’ve gotten a few students, but these students tend to want to learn one skill and then are good. It’s a good temporary income for me. If I can get a few more students, and have them leave positive reviews, it will hopefully lead to more students. I’ve even had people contact me through this venue to inquire about seamstress services such as hemming and custom making skirts.

  • ·         Writing- I’ve been looking at various ways I could make a little money off writing. I’ve loved writing since I was a very young child and have always done it. Most of my writing is what I would consider “closed door” writing, never to been seen by actual people. But, in past years (thank you university) I’ve found I quite enjoy writing for other people as well. Hence the blog. I would like to move the blog to a better platform, and potentially connect it with a shop so I no longer have to rely on etsy for online sales. I’ve also started drafting some tutorial type articles to post on fiverr, and have even submitted some to takelessons for their blog series. Now that I have more time, I will be researching other venues and start submitting to them in the hopes of bringing in a few dollars here and there from something I already am doing.

  • ·         Arbonne- I’ve become an Independent Consultantfor Arbonne this summer. And I LOVE IT. It allows me socialize, and share about some wonderful products that I use and love as well. It helps my little introverted self meet new people, and it will get me out of my house on a regular basis, because let’s face it, I could sit at home and knit and sew and edit and write all day. No matter how introverted you are, that’s not exactly healthy. And I seriously have fun doing the spa parties. Seriously.

And there it is. The multiple income stream plan. It has already led to some blog posts being written, and I’m sure it will be a grand adventure. It might work out beautifully, and I never have to go back to work, or it might be a bit of a flop and I will go back to teaching in a couple months. We will just have to see. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

All the Noise

I often feel like the Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (the real one, not the remake with people and Jim Carey) when he says he can’t stand “All the noise, noise, noise, noise”.  Why are people so noisy? Why is life so noisy?

Recently my husband and I went to shop for a major purchase, we entered a store and were immediately approached by a salesperson. I expected this, however I did not expect the disrespectful nature in which this salesperson treated us.

We told the salesperson that we were not ready to purchase, we just wanted to look and see what our options are so we can plan for the purchase. The salesperson started to talk to us about the options we had.

And did not stop talking for the next hour.

I’m not even joking. Even when it got to the point that I was over-exaggerating looking at my watch, mentioned that we needed to get my husband to work (we really did), and both of us stopped making eye contact and stared at the door. I was about 10 seconds away from just walking out with the salesperson still yakking away at us. That or just yelling “Would you. Just. Shut. Up.”

During the entire interaction my husband and I did not have enough time to ourselves to discuss which options were actually within our budget. What brand we felt was the best deal. Or even if the timeline we had in mind was reasonable now that we knew prices. When we finally escaped, the first thing I said to my husband was:
                “We are not buying from them. Ever.”

Contrast that with the next store we went in to. The salesperson again approached us a few seconds after we entered. They asked us the same types of questions, and pointed us in the right direction. There were plenty of pauses in the conversation for us to process what information was being presented to us. And, most importantly, the salesperson physically walked away every few moments so we had time to discuss options with each other. At one point they said, “I’m going to leave you here for about 5 minutes to talk things over together. And then I’ll check back in with you.”

And they did.

There is a life lesson here, I can’t help but point out. It’s an issue I run into quite a bit in my life. Having quiet time is essential for people to ponder, process, and learn things. You need time to think, and in order to think clearly, you NEED those moments of silence, isolation, and calm.

I recently realized something about a place that we visit . Every time we visit this place, I end up feeling tired and horrifically grumpy. And it’s not just because I’m tired or not getting balanced meals. It’s because this place is never quiet. The people there do not talk to each other, they yell. (This is a volume issue, not an anger issue.)Of course perhaps they are always loud because the tv is constantly on. Once I was up at 2 am, and lo and behold, no one else in the place was awake, yet the tv was still on. It is literally never quiet there.

And without quiet I can’t think. I can’t recharge. And honestly, it really affects whether I can be in a good mood or not.

My family used to joke that you shouldn’t talk to me before 10 a.m., but it was one of those funny because it’s true jokes. I need silence in the morning. Don’t turn on the tv. Don’t talk too loudly to me, and don’t talk a whole lot either. Let me have my quiet. 

This is important to me so I have a chance to read my scriptures, have a few moments to gather myself, and take the time I need to pray.  And when I don’t get that silence, I don’t get that routine, I don’t get the Spirit, and I don’t have a chance at being in a good mood.

Part of my quiet morning routine is listening to a General Conference talk on my way to work, or as I’m getting ready for the day. Recently I heard this in a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin, in combination with the salesperson incident, I knew it was time to write and publish this post.

“We should lower the noise level in our homes so that the noise of the world will not overpower the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. One of our greatest goals as parents should be to enjoy the power and influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes.”  Elder Joseph B Wirthlin, “The Unspeakable Gift”, April 2003

For me this isn’t just some nice advice. It’s something that I’ve lived without even realizing it. I need to quiet the noise of the world in order to feel good about things. That quiet allows me to learn and grow. It allows me to plan and prepare. It allows me to become what I am meant to become and accomplish what I must accomplish. It allows me to be happy.

And, as I learned, most importantly, it allows you time to actually have the influence of the Holy Ghost in your life and home. That place we stay? I actually said to my husband last time we were there that I hate it because I can’t feel the Spirit there. It’s too noisy, and the people there are too preoccupied with worldly things to allow the Spirit in. I don’t feel welcome, and I can’t be comfortable without the ability to feel the Spirit.

So PLEASE: Stop talking. Turn off the tv. Shut down the computer, phone, and music.  And allow yourself and those around you some nice, quiet, time to think. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Life Lessons at Summer Camp: Being Pretty

For those of you who don’t know, my day job consists of working with young children. During the school year, I teach pre-K. During this summer, I supervise the Lord of the Flies at summer camp. Basically the kids run amok and I help make sure no one dies or gets hurt too badly.

This summer camp is at the same preschool I completed my assistantship at during grad school, so a lot of the children attending already know me. Especially since I requested the younger group, I know many of them from my two years as a GA when they were in kindergarten at the school, and the rest from their kindergarten and preschool years. These children are fairly comfortable with me, and in this casual environment I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to just hang out with the kids. I don’t have an ulterior motivation to push an academic agenda on them, there’s no lesson plans that I need to try to gear our interactions toward, I can just hang out with them and get to know them.

The other day, one of our youngest girls was talking with me. Our youngest group just finished kindergarten, so they are around 5-6 years old depending on their birthday. I don’t remember how it came up but she asked me if I ever wore makeup. I said that I did sometimes, but usually not.

As the conversation progressed, this little girl asked me if I had any pictures of me “Pretty.”

“Show me a picture of you pretty.”

Due to the conversation progression prior to this, I knew I had to clarify what exactly she meant.  I asked, “A picture of me where I feel pretty or a picture of me with makeup on?”

“Yeah, with makeup,” she said. “A picture of you pretty.”

I had to take a deep breath and process this. A six year old girl was associating being pretty with wearing makeup. In her young mind, one could not be pretty and not be wearing makeup. And it really bothered me.

In fact, recently I wore makeup to church. No big deal, I wear makeup to church. But the past few months I haven’t been feeling well enough to bother (more on this later). Putting on makeup for church was kind of a big deal. As we waited for services to begin my husband asked me a question.

“What’s on your face?”

“Ummm, it’s called makeup.”

“That’s makeup?”


He didn’t comment on it looking good, or bad. I think it just was out of the norm enough for him to wonder what was going on. Please note, that my husband has never commented on my makeup, or lack of makeup, before this. In almost three years together, the man has never noticed enough to say anything about it. As far as I can tell, my husband (and brothers and dad and grandpa) does not equate makeup with being”pretty”.

Back to this little girl. As she waited for me to show her a picture of me “pretty”, I didn’t take my phone out to show her a picture of me with makeup on. Instead, I told her this.

“Well, I have a lot of pictures of me where I think I look pretty and where I feel pretty. And most of them are of me without makeup on.” ( I tried to emphasize that the most important part of this was what I feel .)

I wish I could tell you that she learned a great life lesson at this point, but in all honesty I don’t think she did. She continued on to tell me about using her mom’s makeup to be pretty when she dresses up.

The best I can hope for is that one day this little girl will remember a teacher she had who tried her best to teach her that being pretty does not depend on whether or not a woman is wearing makeup. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I accidentally took a hiatus for a couple weeks from the blog here.

We got notice that a new apartment was available that we had been on a waitlist for. We'd been on this list for almost a year, and finally got it. So life has been all about getting home from work and working on moving. Not to mention the whole changing the utilities and not having internet for a few days. This time around, however, was the easiest transition to internet ever. The dude came, plugged it in, and it worked. Magically. We've always had some issue or another when it comes to internet. I'm super happy this wasn't the case this time around.

This new place has a washer dryer, but more about that later. It also has an outdoor space, and for those of you that know me this is a HUGE deal.

So, apologies for the absence, and keep coming back here. I've got some posts ready and waiting to be written and read!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On Writers Block

I sat down to write and completely blanked. Nothing. No ideas, no inspiration, can’t even remember what happened five minutes ago. This has been a problem for the past 3 weeks. 

                There are a lot of folks out there who try to help this sort thing. Ideas to overcome“writers block”  or lists of writing prompts to get you going. Stuff like that. I even found a list of blog post ideas recently. You’re supposed to use them when you don’t know what to blog about.

                And you know what? Sometimes you just have to write.

It can be horrible writing. It can make you depressed that you are actually trying to write about that topic and no one would ever enjoy reading it because you don't even like writing it. BUT you are writing. You have to slog through the slow times, the terrible writing, and the staring at the blank Word document for extended periods of time in order to get around to the good stuff.

You have to be able to write poorly in order to write excellently. Get the bad out, so there is room for the good to develop.

Get out there and JUST WRITE!

 (You may be wondering how I keep publishing while I can't seem to write. I write in bursts, three or four posts at a time, then schedule them. I'm often at least a month ahead on posts, and have a file of potential post ideas, outlines, and quick writes,  just in case this sort of thing happens.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Social Media Sins

I feel the need to post this, and have felt the need to do so for quite awhile actually. This week, yet another post on Facebook shocked and upset me to the point that I felt I shouldn’t put off writing this post any longer.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland tells us:  You never “check your religion at the door.” Not ever.
My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all. As the prophet Alma has taught the young women of the Church to declare every week in their Young Women theme, we are “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in,” 13 not just some of the time, in a few places, or when our team has a big lead.
“Check your religion at the door”! I was furious.

I understand that having standards can be perceived as being difficult, or hard, or even inconvenient. But I also know that they are only those things if you allow them to be. Those of you who are flaunting your disobedience on social media are hurting more than yourselves. You are hurting those who are in your family, and may need a strong example of being a believer in their life. You are hurting those who are not members, and look to you as an example of what a Mormon is, and are damaging their perceptions of the Church as a whole.

Elder Holland even tells us that you are giving up your privilege to be with your family eternally, and possibly receive the condemnation of “The sins of the children be upon the heads of the parents.” Why? Because if you teach those around you that sinning isn’t a big deal, that you can “check your religion at the door”, those people fall into the category of those unable to receive the fullness of the gospel in their lifetime.

Now, if you decide to sin that is up to you. Please, for the sake of the rest of us stop posting your sins on social media. Don’t post a picture of the coffee you bought today because you NEEDED it. Don’t post pictures of yourself wearing clothes that caused you to break covenants made in the temple, just because they were CUTE or STYLISH. Stop posting pictures of parties where you may not actually be consuming alcohol, but it appears you are.  Don’t tell us about a movie that you saw or a book you just read that is Pornographic. It’s not ok to “take a break” from church, even for one week or even one hour.  Just STOP.

Make a stand. It’s not hard. Just say, “No thank you. I choose not to…” Because it is a choice, you always can do something, you just choose to not do it. I know people who have done this countless times EACH DAY. Even if the decision is, “ok. I will sin.” Choose to not post it for all to see. Your relationship with God is yours, it’s private, and it needs to be protected, even if your relationship consists of the philosophy “I do what I want.”

I’m sorry you chose to give up blessings in this life. I’m sorry you chose to not be with your family eternally. I’m sorry you think that you are more important than God.

I need you to know one more thing. You are making more work for the rest of us. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your daughters about modesty in dress and bearing. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your sons that those types of movies and websites are in fact damaging their spirituality. It shouldn’t be up to me to help a wayward person understand that just because you don’t have a testimony of certain principles, and don’t live them, that they shouldn’t forfeit the eternal blessings that you have because of your example. And even if my calling isn’t with the Youth, or with the adults, or anything at all. I still worry about them, I still want to help them, and I still need all the help I can get to be an example of faith, trust, and how to let God lead you in life. And yes, even how to love the sinner while condemning the sin.

To be very honest, I have had a very hard year spiritually. It’s been rough. And a lot of it is because of the reasons above. People have been checking their religion at a door, and I have been fighting tooth and nail to keep mine intact, as well as undo damage done by the examples of those who know better and strengthen the testimonies of those who I love.

I do not consider myself perfect, staunch, or a zealot, by any means. Far from it. But I am doing my absolute best and it is my sincerest wish that everyone else would too. Walk away from the coffee, put down the dress, don’t drink a ‘mocktail’, stop reading the romance novels and movies, and if you are struggling post inspirational pictures and quotes that will help you focus on what is truly important, instead of flaunting your sins to the rest of us.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stop Asking Me That Update

Last week, I shared the original link to my post Stop Asking Me That on Facebook since it showed up on the memories page that they have. I felt it was still relevant, and will be relevant for quite awhile until there is a cultural shift among us to cause the phenomenon to change, or ideally disappear completely.

When it was originally posted I got quite a bit of positive feedback on it. This time around was no different, I received feedback from several people thanking me for sharing it again. And especially for giving voice to their thoughts and feelings on the subject. And that, my friends, is one of the reason I go on what my husband calls "Jaq Rants". I know that I'm not the only one that feels the way I feel about these things, the only difference is I seem to be the one to get so fed up with them that I HAVE to say something.

Since the original post, I have gained some more insight into the subject and would like to share a bit of it. Hopefully, someone who read the original post and disagreed with it will gain some more perspective here and be more open minded to understanding why the subject of having children can be so sensitive and upsetting to people.

(At this point I am not going to repost the entire original post. You can read it here.)

"Each mention of babies or children is extremely painful to them. You can NEVER know if you are saying something to this person."

Yes. A million times yes.
Not only is bringing up the subject of "When are you going to have kids" or "Why don't you have kids yet" painful beyond description for these people, every day life is.
They can't drive past a park with children playing in it without pain.
They can't pass a school without pain.
Even going to church is painful, seeing families with babies and older children, even when the children are crying or misbehaving. These people want that so badly, and deeply, that they would take your misbehaving child on their worst day .
They go home at night and curl up in a ball and sob. They cry out to the Lord for a child, or if not, the strength to understand why they aren't blessed with children, or to endure life without receiving the deepest desire of their hearts.

And you aren't helping by talking about nothing but children around them. You are causing more pain and damage to them, especially as you ask and pressure them about having children of their own.

Why don't they just tell you? If you knew you wouldn't do that to them. Well, like I said before, because things like this are often deeply PRIVATE. These people are not going to walk around telling you that they can't have children and seeing you happy with yours causes them emotional pain so deep that it physically hurts.

"Some people don't want children. And that's fine because it's their choice. Did you hear that? It's their choice, not yours. Stop trying to guilt trip them into something they don't want, and don't pass judgement on them for following their path, not your interpretation of what their path should be."

Some feedback I received on this one was from a couple who have not yet decided if they are going to have children or not. They currently are leaning towards not having children. And every time they visit family they are asked about when they are going to start a family. They are told "We want grandkids, when is it going to happen?"

The subject is not brought up in a joking manner. These family members will not let the subject go until they have a timeline, for heaven's sake.

And this couple doesn't know how to tell the family that they don't want children at this point, and may never want children.

The thing is, it's the couple's choice and decision. Their families have NO BUSINESS pressuring them into it. Not having children is not selfish. It's not. It's responsible. Having worked the past year with extremely low income families, I can tell you honestly that I wish some of those parents had made the decision to not have their children. Children born to those who don't want them, or are on the fence about having children, are the ones that suffer. If you are mature enough to know that you don't want children, don't have them.

As for the rest of you, don't pressure these people into having children to satisfy your own selfish desires to be an aunt or grandpa or whatever. The children are the ones who will suffer the consequences of not being wanted by the two most important people in their life, their parents.

"I'm going to advocate a little for my generation here, some of us are not ready for children yet for various reasons."

We have watched you struggle. We have watched you make huge mistakes in life. And we see the looming consequences that you will not have to pay, but we WILL have to pay. You didn't always think things through, and left us with a mess to clean up. We are learning from your mistakes and trying our hardest to not repeat them.

We don't want that for our children. We would much rather start them off in a financially stable home. We would much rather they have two parents who love and support each other, or if we must that the single parent is well enough off that our children don't bear the brunt of poverty or neglect because mom or dad is exhausted from working all day just to keep food on the table.

We want our children to be healthy. And sometimes that means delaying having them because we need to make sure we are healthy;physically, mentally, and emotionally; before allowing children in our lives. We can identify when we aren't mature enough, or if we feel like we still need time to define ourselves before giving ourselves over entirely to a new human. We want to guide them, and love them, in the best possible way we can, and to do that we need to take a little more time to figure out who we are and who we want to become before we can help another human do the same thing.

Give us a break, we are trying to, and for the most part succeeding in, doing the right thing here.

Finally, I want to put it this way, brace yourselves for this because I really had to mentally prepare myself to put this in writing, even though I have said it a million times.

When you ask a couple when they are going to have a baby you are literally asking them if they are having sex. And that is most definitely none of your business. There were several occasions when I was asked when we were going to have a baby, and it took all I had to not say, "Well, that's a good question, and when is the last time you had sex with your spouse?"

If all of the above information has not gotten through to you, hopefully that last paragraph did. You don't want anyone knowing about your sex life, so stop asking them about theirs.