Picture this; Canberra, 2002. Anyone else always fight the urge to start stories like Sophia from The Golden Girls? Nope, just me. Ok, then. Anyways, I’ve got some thoughts to spill today and to do that I need to go back to the start and the start is all the way back in 2002. You see in 2002 I moved to Canberra all by my lonesome, off on a big adventure thanks to my career in the Australian Public Service. I came here with a sort of dream in my heart, but I really had no clue what I was doing. At the time the internet was around, but not yet as mainstream as it is today. I had a great group of friends online that I’d met through online chat rooms and when I moved town one of them suggested I check out this thing called “LiveJournal”.
LiveJournal was a site that allowed you to keep a journal online; like a digital dear diary. As someone who’d kept a journal since she was 14 it appealed to me because I could type faster than I wrote and I could use it as a way to keep those in my life updated on what I was doing and connect with others. That’s when GnomeAngel was born. I was on LiveJournal for a year or two when I decided to branch out and get my own domain and start blogging. I really had no idea what I was doing, but the thought of being in control of my own space and being able to share really resonated with me. I registered a domain name, got a hosting plan and installed WordPress.
It was a massive learning curve – and I loved it. I loved the freedom of doing my own thing, of learning new things like HTML and graphics creation. I loved being able to connect with people all over the world via this medium. I went into it with no real plan other than sharing my life as it unfolded. Over the years this space has evolved from a rambling blog about my life, to a documentation of our courtship, marriage, infertility, pregnancy and all the in-between. When I got pregnant with our Son I wasn’t really sure what direction the blog would take. I knew I didn’t want to be a “mummy blogger” and at the time I was falling in love with the creative process of being a quilter and so the blog just naturally evolved into the space where I shared all things quilting.
For a number of reasons I stopped sharing in detail our life and focused more on my journey as a quilter. It was great. I was so full of excitement about quilting and learning to sew that sharing on the blog was effortless and prolific. I had found a way to share who I was, without impeaching on the privacy that I now wanted for our son. I’ve been sewing and quilting now coming up to 7 years. I’ve been writing about that journey the entire time. I’ve also managed to roll that into a business and some amazing opportunities, however (and you knew there was a but coming right?) for the past 2 years the magic has gone.
I’ve struggled, I’ve rallied, I’ve railed and I’ve broken my creative spirit. I took this thing that I loved and I made it a job. Sure, it’s now a job that I love but where it once filled a need in me to have something outside of my day-to-day work it’s now become the day-to-day work. I don’t have anything else in my life other than work and family. I don’t actually mind that, however I’m finding the single focus on one aspect of my life really stifling. Quilting as a business has sucked all the oxygen out of my creative body. It’s put me in a vacuum of my own making that’s causing me more stress, discomfort, anxiety and unhappiness then my day-to-day job did.
When I got home from Quilt Market last year I went into a massive black hole. I didn’t want to see anyone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I sure as heck didn’t want to make anything. I was battling disillusionment about the publishing industry, disappointment over my own performance, anger and resentment about the events of the previous year and a whole lot of “I don’t want to”. For the sake of our family I took December and January off. Sure, I still did some work but it wasn’t at the break neck speed that it had been for the past 18 months. Then we rolled into February and I really wanted to jump back in but I was drowning under the weight of all of these commitments I’d made to other people in the name of business. I had said yes to things that I knew at the time I didn’t want to do, but I did it under the false assumption that it would be “good for the business” and that I wouldn’t get the opportunity again.
It wasn’t good for the business. (It’s never good for the business when the person in charge is resenting every minute of it.) Those opportunities would come around again, because they always do. Life is like a train station, there’s a new train departing all the time you just have to be patient. My health wasn’t improving and I suspect that part of the reason for that was the massive amount of stress and unhappiness that I was carrying around.
In January I’d taken a couple of online classes (I’ll share them in the links below) about brand focus and content creation. It was the first time in a long time I’d actually stopped and looked at what I was doing, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to stand for. I had a plan written on a cocktail napkin way back when I first thought about quitting my job but then I got sidetracked with writing a book, our family dynamic changed and life just snowballed and that cocktail napkin flew out the window. When I stopped and looked at where I was in January 2018 I was so far off the beaten path of where I needed to be that I couldn’t recognise what I’d become.
My online home had become a wasteland due to book writing, sponsored content, magazine commissions and trying to be so laser focused on what I thought I needed to do. I’d some how managed to believe the hype that if I wanted to be “successful” at what I was doing I needed to stay in my niche. I couldn’t do what I’d done before which was write about the things that excite me, unless of course they were some how related to sewing and quilting. I’d filled my life with so much quilting and sewing that I couldn’t see the forrest for the trees. I’d actively made myself unhappy.
Now, before you think it’s all doom and gloom, it’s not. It’s actually really exciting and thrilling and it’s got the blush of a first romance to it. While I was doing the navel gazing in January I managed to tap into what it was that I really wanted to be doing. What got me excited, what I did well and what I wanted to do. It was invigorating. I stared at that piece of paper with my mission statement written on it and I knew this was what I needed to be doing.
I need to get back to the vision that I had for this space in 2015 when I first decided that I could do what I love and contribute to the financial stability of our family. So, this is where I’m at today. Last week I finished my last two magazine commitments. My final back page column for Love, Patchwork & Quilting has been delivered. I’ve done my last obligation sewing that was on my list. I’m free from the things that were weighing me down, and you know what a funny thing happened in the process of finalising those tasks. My creativity reared it’s head. Like a slumbering giant it opened it’s eyes and gave me a cheeky grin and a wink.
I can feel the excitement returning. I’ve got a roadmap of where I want to go and how to get there. What’s this mean for this space? Not much immediately. I’ll still be popping in every Monday to share some thoughts with you, give you some fun links and lead you to shopping temptation. But behind-the-scenes I’m working frantically and passionately on a relaunch of GnomeAngel.com. Come July, this will be a new space. I’m only going to host one online sewing event a year because #100Days100Blocks still excites me three years on, because I strongly believe in the premise of the event (creating everyday feeds your creativity and make you better) and because I can only really do one event a year to the standard that I want. I’m going to kick off a new series for those looking to become quilters. I’m going to start sharing recipes again and I’m going to open up our home and share the things that I’m passionate about outside of quilting and sewing.
This space is getting back to what I love; the F words – fabric, food, family and fun. I’m going to share with you what I’m doing to implement the changes in my life that I want to make so that I can live a life that is active, healthy and in tune with the values of our family. I’m letting go of the idea of perfect and instead I’m embracing the joy that is the journey. I’m going to share my successes and learning opportunities as I make major lifestyle changes as I actively and consciously slow down.
I really want to blurt out all the things that I have been working on and the way that things will change, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. (I also don’t want this one post to rival “War and Peace” in length.) I’m excited about what’s coming and I’m trying to make peace with the fact that to go forward I’m going to have to lay low for a little while longer as I work on getting it right behind-the-scenes for all of us. My health is still a major factor as I won’t have surgery until June at the earliest, so I’m learning to do what I can with what I got and to set myself realistic timeframes and expectations (something I haven’t done and it’s been to my detriment for the past 2 years).
I know that there’s a lot of you, like me, out there that are struggling with health, eating well, exercise and finding their creativity. I’m hoping that by getting back to the core of what makes me happy (sharing my adventures with you and connecting over the things we have in common, see differently and have learned) that I can create the life that we want for our family and share in your journey to do the same (whatever it may look like). So, that’s where I’m at… I’d love to know if you’ve experienced something similar, if you have any major goals that you’re struggling with or if you’re thinking about making massive life changes and you’re scared (like I am!) and want someone else to share the journey with.
Wishing you a fabulous week filled with love, laughter and much fabric fondling!
PS. To all of you that sent me an email, message or left a comment after my last blog post about my health, THANK YOU! I’m slowly working my way through the emails and hope to have responded to all of them by the end of this week. Your words of wisdom, encouragement and positive stories really gave me strength when I needed it. Thank you!
I listened to this episode of the Goal Digger Podcast this week with Jenna Kutcher and it really resonated with me. (So much so that I’ve moved all screens out of our bedroom!) Click here to listen.
I really loved this Skillshare class by Kate Arends of Wit & Delight. It was such a great prompt for helping me to tap into what I wanted to do with my business and I’d highly recommend it to any of you looking to understand what’s driving your own business. Click here to learn more.
I took Sarah’s Content Planning Kit Course and it was really great for helping me work out what it is I want to share with you all over the coming months. If you’re a blogger then I’d recommend checking out this course to get your content planning juices flowing. Click here to learn more.
Giuseppe (aka Giucy_Giuce) is kicking off his All Star’s Sew-along this week and you can get the first block details now. It’s a spectacular quilt! Click here to read more.
Our Little Man is currently obsessed with all things Easter Egg hunt and so I’m planning to do this egg dying activity from Skip to My Lou with him this week. Click here to read more.
I’m totally going out and finding a burlap bag just so I can try this cross stitch tutorial on Polka Dot Chair. Click here to read more.
Have you got an event, a charity drive, a pattern release, a class schedule or something else that you think my community would be interested in hearing about? Why not drop me a line and let me know – I’d love to share it with my readers. Click here to email me.
- The Etobicoke Quilter’s Guild are making Bunny Bags to promote their upcoming quilt show. The bags are so very cute and they’re sharing the tutorial on how to do it with everyone so they too can make their own bags. You can check out the tutorial by clicking here. You can also find out more about their upcoming Quilt Show by clicking here.
- Paige Anderson, of the Wild Sweet Pea, has just debuted her website and Etsy shop and you can check out her new site and find out more about her by clicking here.
The Modern Sewist has launched their 2018 Block of the Month on March 20 and it’s not too late to join! They’ll be using The Quilt Cookbook by Amy Gibson to make 12 blocks and in a beautiful modern layout. The blocks, fabric and layout are contemporary with a fresh modern vibe! The blocks, while appearing intricate, are relatively uncomplicated, making each a very enjoyable design. Suitable for a confident beginner and with enough variety for accomplished piecers, this BOM will appeal to all levels. You’ll be working with traditional piecing, gentle curves and basic paper piecing. For more information, and to sign up, click here.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!
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