Friday, December 30, 2016

Turning a New Leaf

Starting about June of 2016, I have been running like a chicken with my head cut off.  I am more than busy with work, trying to homeschool, keeping the house clean, trying to cook more, eat healthier, exercise, blah, blah, blah.

It ALL failed miserably because I let my work take over and homeschool was over all of the other stuff. 

I have gained about 10 pounds over the past 6-7 months, completely stopped exercising and even though we cancelled the cleaners, I have not cleaned at all.  Luckily, my husband is the bees knees, because he kept the house going even with a horrible energy sector job and more and more stress as people got laid off. 

Talk about GUILT!  Which, honestly, did not help my sleep or things in the house at all.

The next 6 months won't change too much, but I there are some things in place that should create a little realistic life for us by August.

1) I have stopped accepting any new orders for my business.  I have 10 quilts in my possession and about 10 on a waiting list.  That is enough to keep my going for quite a while.  (I will give you all some year end numbers for it soon).  I am still going to take scout patches though.  I am the Scout Lady and I have no plans of stopping that - they are quick and cost me almost nothing to sew on.

2) The youngest 2 are going to private school.  Public school is not an option and this is something we feel VERY strongly about. They are going into 8th and 9th grade, so it is not like we will paying for years and years.  This is a non-negotiable thing and I will not debate about it.

These are the major changes.  The work is the most immediate, but also me being able to let go of constant planning and implementation of upper level school work will be HUGE!

Once this semester of homeschool is over, I will have more time to devote to household duties.  Neither Darrell nor I believe one of us should be entirely responsible for household duties, but he really has been carrying it all for the past few months.  I am looking forward to taking some of that off of him.

The business will work itself out - I will still have a customer base, and in no time I can build it back up.  I am not concerned at all about it.

That is it for tonight.  Getting very tired and looking forward to a warm bed tonight.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Saga Continues

Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit.  I have my little quirks and get pretty upset when they are messed with.  Inwardly though, I don't share it.  Yes, I know I should in a gentle assertive way, but alas, I am a southern girl and we are not taught to do that.

I like to wake up and have a couple cups of coffee in silence, perusing my email and Facebook.  Not at this moment.  I have two almost grown boys staring at me - literally.  One has to fold up his bed before I can even sit in my chair.  This will be gone in 4-5 days though, so not long.

Another little quirk, after 9 pm, my husband and I like to sit in our chairs and watch a show or movie (we rarely make it through one) to wind down after a long day.  Well, for these boys, they are just getting started with the night.  So they want to chat about politics and their problems.

You see what this is doing to my sleep.  Sleep - what sleep?  I am up thinking all night about their lives and what they should do - that I cannot do for them or tell them.  This SUCKS!

I am trying to let it go, but with them staring at me, it is kind of hard.

OK, so where I left off last time, he did not have a place to live.  The deal was falling through because he went off on his friend.

As Matt was dealing with his sickness, I noticed he did not have sheets on his bed.  I asked where his sheets were and he said wrapped around his computer monitor and TV.  Where was that?  At his friend's new place.  Arg!  I told him he really needed to get them.  Matt said he was at work and did not get until 4. 

At this point, I let it go, but started thinking his friend is without a car right now, and usually his grandfather (who was upset with Matt) brings him home.  I knew where this friend's house is so, so I took it upon myself to be there at 4 to at minimum get Matt's things, but hopefully bridge the gap.

Things could not have gone better!  I talked to the grandfather, smoothed things over, got Matt's things.  Matt is going to move in in 2 weeks to a month.  They have not closed on the house yet, and there needs to be some septic work done before he can move in.  Fine.   I am still holding my breath, though.  I am not an optimist about anything.

So, now he has a very filthy apartment that we thought did not have electricity, but does.  Sigh.  He could still be there.  At this point though, the furniture he has in already at my place and I don't want to move it back to move it again - and anyway, we have to sell most of it.

I have 6 quilts to make in the next week, but his things are dominating my space and my mind.  I need to move past this.  My kids also have a tour of the private school next week, we are supposed to be putting a good foot forward and I feel like I am just existing right now.

We really needed some time away.  We have no family here, so time alone is almost non-existent.  Sorry, pulling my big girl panties up now.  Whining is over!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Laid Plans

Recently, my business has grown to the point where my little office is just not enough room.  I also am dabbling in blanks, so there is inventory to deal with as well.

Since Aaron moved out for college, and the room he was using was actually an office according to our house plans, we made his room a homeschool room with two corner desks and a sleeper sofa for when he comes home. 

Well, now that I am not going to be homeschooling after this year (another post), both Darrell and I decided that it was time to make that room more for my business overflow.  Still keeping the sleeper sofa in it.  We would move the desks to the kids rooms and I would put my blanks inventory and embroidery machines in that room.

This was GOING to happen this coming weekend.  I paid for a new logo and was ready to revamp the website, Facebook page, etc.  New space in the office - things were looking up.

Well, LOOOONG story, but Matt (our oldest), was going to move into a house with a friend, that fell through the day his electricity was being turned off in his apartment, of which other roommates had already moved out, so was out of a place to live.

Guess where he moved?  Yep, that room.  Now Aaron is sleeping in the living room because we only have a 3 bedroom house with an office.  I am working in what is considered a formal dining room.

AND on top of that, the day Matt moved in - yesterday - he has/had a stomach virus!  Now Aaron does.  I am so dreading this.  It has been years since we had a stomach virus.  I keep us healthy so we don't get sick very often at all - just allergies mostly.  The rest of us are going to start doing the neti pot, taking elderberry, spraying thieves spray on our feet and peppermint on our temples.  I hate getting a stomach virus!!!

My stress level is through the roof!  I did use that homeschool room for some storage in the closet, now I had to remove all that plus the sleeper sofa, dresser, and nightstand.  Darrell and I had to get rid of our entertainment center because we have to store two couches.  Our bedroom is full of my work stuff, an extra sofa that was in the living room, and Aaron storage things since Matt is taking over. 

I know this is long, I need to vent.

Matt is almost 21.  Chose NOT to go to college.  He left our home with a job paying over $10 an hour, working full time and had $4,500 in the bank.  (some may remember, I did not let him spend his graduation money).  He moved out 1 year after high school graduation on the spur of the moment, just walked in and said I am moving out.  Within a month, he quit his job and did not look for another until his money was gone.  He started freaking out, so I talked to a friend and got him a job.  He is still there and it has been a little over a year.

Now, he is working for less than $10 an hour, part-time and has no money in the bank.  His car literally could go at any minute.

He is bi-polar, obsessive-compulsive and ADHD.  He does not listen to me or Darrell.  He has pretty much cut off his Dad.  He has burned bridges with friends and still thinks it is everyone elses fault.

I cannot have him living here.  But I cannot afford to support him anywhere else.  He is not interested in a trade. 

However, last night after getting all our of kids to bed and not being able to wind down in the living room like we usually do, we decided that he can not be here when Aaron is here from college in the summer. 

Matt has to figure out a living arrangement by then.  

These next few months are going to be VERY hard for me.  I have to get Matt on a good path again, I am homeschooling an intense semester getting them ready for private school, and run this business.

Needless to say, I have stopped accepting new orders and will just fill the ones I currently have and those on the waiting list.  It will hurt, but I will build it back up when things settle down.

Oh, one more thing.  We were supposed to go on a small get away trip, just Darrell and I, but we cannot now.  Matt and Laney, our daughter, do not get along, and with the recent upset to the home and the illness.  We are stuck, yet again.  Our marriage is seriously hurting from this.  We will make it, but we need a break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas is out the door!

Well, at least all the gifts for family and Christmas cards.  A bit later than usual, but that is off my plate now.

I have been working 16+ hours per day every day for weeks now.  I am exhausted and taking today off.  I had to go the chiropractor.  My leg was going numb again.  I had thrown my riser away because it was killing me.  Good thing too because after 4 years, I am starting to get better!  I went from an 8 mm riser to a 5 mm riser.  Whew!  Maybe one day, I won't have to wear one at all, but I tell you, the world was right when I put it in - felt incredible!

I think some of my pains will settle down now.  There is a delicate balance with my hips and back.  For those who do not know, about 4 years ago, I had a microdiscectomy surgery between L4 and L5.  My disc had literally exploded, so some trauma (probably child birth) obliterated it!  I was in a wheel chair for about 2 years because I could not feel my leg and fell all the time.

They left the shell in place to give me some support and not be literally bone on bone.  So, I gave up the chair 3 year ago and keep doing better and better, but I have to have massages frequently (from hubby), monthly visits to the chiropractor, heat therapy, as well as the riser and I will never be able to lift heavy things again.  My spine just cannot take it.

Anyway,  I went to the chiropractor, post office to mail everything, then the library.  Home to make a wristlet for my daughter's sign language teacher, then took her to class and ran to Joann's.  Got home and thought - I am done today.  I need a break.

So, I changed the beneficiary on my term life policy.  I bought it when I was single, so my Dad was still the beneficiary - EEEKKK, EDIT, just found out my ex-husband was my contingent!  My husband has been so patiently asking me to change it since our will reflects him as the beneficiary.  It would legally be a nightmare if I did not change it.  So, I did.  I am going to print it off and wrap it for him.  After 18 years, he deserves to be my beneficiary. LOL

I may clean my office, if I get some energy or I just may have a glass of wine and read.  It has been A LONNNNNGGGGG time since I did that.

Without further ado, here are the pix I promised!  I did not take one of every single piece because there are multiples of the same thing.  This is just a quick peek so to speak.

Garden Flag - 1 side

Garden Flag - 2nd side

Sweatshirt Cinch Bag w/ tone on tone embroidery

Blanket Scarf w/ monogram

Flannel pillows with scripture

Yes, I made the pillows.  Yes, I did all the embroidery.  The scarves, cinch bags and garden flags were blanks I bought very inexpensively through my business.

I also made these hats for my cousin.  She just gave me the cost.  We do that back and forth for each other.

Now, I just need to get done with lots of quilts, some monogramming, a ribbon blanket.  I have accepted that I will never catch up, but be at a state of constant work.  Which, honestly, never a bad thing.

Everyone else sent out their goodies?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy,much too busy

I am making myself take a moment this morning.  I have already gotten customers frustrated with me because I was not open when they needed it.

Between all my customers, they expect me to be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and to be able to answer questions from 5:30 a.m. until midnight.  They are insane!

Had to go because customers were calling and coming in!

No rest for the weary this season.  I am SOOOOO thankful our older boys are giving us a couple days away after Christmas.  We need to reconnect and I need a break from the stress of my work being here, homeschool and the home in general.

Just one morning worth of patches - 7 different customers!   This is happening almost daily right now.

Well, money coming in so it is fine with me. 

I thought I would be able to write something substantial, but I cannot!  Tacos for dinner and on to embroidery now!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Education woes

I know, this is a pathetic problem to have - I know I sound whiny.  However, our kids education is VERY important to us.  Get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

With our first two, homeschool was never an option.  There were public schooled ALL the way.  I really did not like how more and more, the education became all about the test.  They were tested all the time - chapter test, unit test, benchmark test, pre-pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre Star Test, pre Star Test, Star Test, semester test, pop quizzes, pre-benchmarks, etc, etc. This is per class by the way.

Now, I am not against tests.  I test my homeschool children.  They get chapter quizzes, spelling quizzes, Unit tests, and I do test them once a year with a national testing company to make sure we are the right track.  (Maybe if I ask really sweetly or even demand, if the kids do good, hubs can give me a bonus - very sarcastic)

Besides that, I do not like how the teachers have their hands tied when it comes to educating the kids.  I am not a teacher basher, I am a system basher.

So, given all this and the issues I had with one particular teacher and my daughter, we decided to homeschool the younger two when they were going into 3 & 4th grades.  The first year was wonderful, we did so many things explored history - they learned all the countries of the middle east (amazing) and they both excelled.  The second year, I was worried about them not having enough friends, so we enrolled them in a one day a week class.  It was still going great!

Then pre-puberty hit, and my daughter was getting tired of homeschool, she missed her friends.  Darrell and I, at that time went a local private school that we LOVE!!!  We were going to make it work, but then ultimately decided that it was not the right choice at the time.  Which I am glad we did, because then, the oil industry tanked and we had to change jobs and take a pay cut.

They went back to public school.  It was awful!  They came home crying most days, Koen was beyond bullied, Laney was so bored, she was getting headaches and saying her stomach hurt, Koen sat alone at lunch for 1/2 of the time because of the bullying - he eventually found a group when he got to middle school and joined band.  By Christmas, Koen was begging to be homeschooled again.  When he got his teeth pulled out in March, I just took him out of school.  I was done.  Laney, said she was not sure whether she wanted to homeschool again.  I did not pressure her.  She asked to be homeschooled 2 weeks later.  School was not all it was cracked up to be.

They were happy as larks. 

Now, we are still homeschooling, but my business has completely taken off!  I am struggling to balance homeschooling them AND running my business.  The house has completely gone away - we even stopped having cleaners come in to help with the debt aspect.

OK, so a couple of months ago, I came across this school that is part private/part homeschool.  PERFECT COMBINATION!  I would not have to scourge the earth to find good curriculum and try to figure out how to use it, implement it, enhance it, adjust it, etc, etc.  Not to mention grade and track it.  This I could do!

So, we go to an informational meeting.  It is a little too Bible Thumping for us, but not overly so.  They taught following the Classical Method - the trivium - Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric with focus on the liberal arts - rich Literature, History, Latin, Logic along with Math and Science.  Exactly the way I am trying to homeschool them.  It seemed like a great fit.  They would go 2 days a week and I would homeschool (really just monitor since they are in the upper levels), so we could still do extra-curriculars. 

We filled out all their paperwork, I tested the kids - it was a long hard day!We had t get a reference from our minister, but since we don't g to church, we asked our best friend, which happens to be a lay-leader at an Episcopal Church.  Got a good reference from the educator at the small school we went to, in which I am a judge at the Houston Area Spelling Bee which this school sponsors.

Then, we sat back and waited.  Last night, I received an email.  No call, No interview - just we are not a good fit for their school and we will not be admitted.

Many have said, "Maybe it is a good thing."  I am sure, but this was how I was going to have my cake and eat it too.   My kids would get what we consider the best education we could possibly give them and I could still have my business.

Alas, that is not to be.

Are their other schools, not really.  There is another one just like it, and I will check to see what their policy is on the requirement of attending church.  Which, by the way, is the reason we were not admitted - we do not attend church.  But they sound very similar, so I am not holding my breath.

So, that leaves us with 3 choices.

1. They go back to public school.  I take valium and alcohol for the next five years, meditate to forget the education we planned for them, and continue with the business.

2. They can go to the wonderful, but pricey full time private school that has the same educational plan as us.  Knowing full well, that I'll need to work like a mad woman to be able to afford it.  Remember, we have one in college that we are trying to get through debt free.

3.  I stop the business, educate them myself.  Problem is, I am always the one to sacrifice and the work feeds a part of me that is very deep.  When I am not creating and making, I get very depressed and things do not go well.

I don't know we are going to do yet.  I am leaning toward #3, but I still do not know if it will work the entire 5 years.  Taking it one year at a time in elementary is fine, but homeschooling through high school is more difficult.  You have to track, carefully, they need this for college!

There are my educational woes.  I could be worse off, I know.  Many go through public just fine, I have one who is in engineering so I know!  People make the money work through private school, I know.  People make it through teaching their kids at home all the way through - I KNOW!!!

What makes it hard is choosing between my business and educating my children. 

Do I make enough to send them to private school?  Not both, one - yes.  Not two. 

Something we are possibly considering is sending my daughter this nest year since she is going into 9th grade.  I pay for it, then my son follows the next year when we are out of debt.

But again, we are getting older, we need to save more.

Ah, hell, I have no idea!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Presents

This year I/We have decided to give presents from the business to the extended family - brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, and nephews.

For our Dads, they are getting flannel pillows with scripture embroidered on them.  This flannel is so incredibly soft and sews like butter.  I am making Darrell and myself one as well!

For our Moms and my Sister, they are getting these gorgeous plaid scarves (blanket type scarves) with their monogram. 

For my Brother in Law - he is getting two key fobs - one Cowboys as a joke, then Houston Texans for him to really use (my sister's idea!)

For all other sibling sets - they are getting embroidered jute coozies.

For nieces and nephews under 18, they are getting sweatshirt cinch bags with the younger ones monogram and the older ones a patch of their liking.

For my sister's nephew - a hooded towels and possibly a Tooth Goblin.

We are MUCH closer to my sister's family than the rest of the family, so they get a little more personal and unique gifts.

All these items I bought through the business, blanks that are to be embroidered or heat vinyl pressed into them.  I don't use the heat vinyl, so embroidery it is!  Everything was under $8 each - most coming in around the $5 amount.

The pillow forms we bought we at 70% off through a Joann sale, they ended up about $5 each. The flannel I paid full price for @ $8.99 a yard (on a regular sale though), but it does not take much fabric for a pillow.

The scarves were $6.50 each.  The key fobs cost me about $2.00 to make.  The coozies were $2.50 each.  The cinch bags were $5 each!  (I love them they are awesome!)  The hooded towel is the most expensive coming in at $10.  Add about $10 total for thread and stabilizer.

4 Dads @ $7.50 each = $30.00

4 Moms and Sister @ $6.50 each = $26.00

2 Key fobs @ $2.00 each = $4.00

10 coozies for 5 couples @ $2.50 each = $25.00

6 Cinch Bags for nieces and nephews @ $5.00 each = $30.00

1 Hooded Towel @ $10

$10 for thread and stabilizer

Total spent for 26 people $135.00

I really don't think that is all that bad!  We love giving to everyone, we just keep it in the budget.  This year I think we have done fabulous!  I will post pictures when I get them all done!

Do you buy for extended family?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Overhaul

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we woke up when we woke up - around 9:30 a.m.  We made sausage balls, had some coffee, then some more coffee, then another cup for good measure until about 11.  Then, we went for a slow, 2 mile walk.

Came back home, opened up the turkey to find it still frozen on one part.  Laughing, we steeped it in water to thaw quickly, why I jumped in the shower.

Once I was dressed, and discovered the turkey was now thaw, then I set that up while hubs got the potatoes started, then I got a glass of champagne and sipped while the kids and hubs set up the Christmas tree.

My son and his girlfriend came over, helped with the tree, visited while we cooked on and off.  They left for her house and we continued cooking.  My oldest son came and we were ready to go pretty soon.

We sat down and my daughter only wanted turkey, fruit salad, rolls and olives.  While others took only a couple of things as well.  After no one finishing and dinner being eaten inside of 10 minutes, we are done with Thanksgiving meals.  No one in my family really likes it anyway and I am tired of cooking all that much and it being lackluster at best.

We all talked about it afterward and decided that this was our last Thanksgiving.  What we all agreed is that is would be MUCH nicer, if we could go serve others, then come home to a simple meal - it would mean so much more.

SOOOO, that is what we are going to try to do next year. 

Now, that banana trifle was excellent!  That I just might keep.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - I hope you were able to spend it with people you love!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday's mind

I think I am doing everything I can to keep from working today, which equals to a whole lot of nothing!  My back and hip is killing me and I just want to veg out.  I have a little bit of burn out, but only because I am burning the candle at both ends.  We are planning a little get away next weekend, so that will help.

My Black Friday deals are not going too well, but, that's ok.  I am super busy and sometimes the marketing helps keep the name out there.  I need to take stock and change my tactic for future marketing projects.

As for Thanksgiving, we like keep it simple.  Holidays were very awful for me growing up, so I tend to want to over-plan and make it special, then get depressed and not do anything.  It is so odd.  So, over the past oh, 20 years or more, I have learned that keeping it low key is the best.  The holiday happens (as opposed to me completely shutting down), and the pressure is lessened on everyone.  There is no drama - thank goodness!

We are having some friends over - we all get along wonderfully and though part of me is dreading it, with my back being the way it is, I think it will be fine.  They tend to fancy it up, but I am goos-fra-ba ing it.  That is their issue - not mine.

So, with that, we are having Turkey!  This is my area.  I hate dry turkey, so I baste and remove from oven - SHOCK - before it is done!  Yes folks, it cooks even when you take it out of the oven!

Full menu that I know of right now:

Cranberry sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans w/bacon
Fruit Salad
Deviled Eggs
Banana Trifle
Pecan Pie

I think the others are bringing things, but they have not told me what yet.  Pretty simple - nothing fancy.  We will probably make soup with the left over turkey, if my oldest does not take the leftovers (I will offer push them on him).

I decided to make the day a little festive by putting up our Christmas Trees.  No other decor, just the trees.  We have a sentimental one - the biggest of them in the living room - the one with all the kids' ornaments from growing up.  Then we have two smaller ones - 1 holds all the Historical White House Ornaments and the other stores our travel ornaments - we have states, state parks, national parks, etc.  I LOVE THEM!!!!!

Anyone have multiple trees?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Black Friday Week!

It is not what most of you will think!

I do not partake in Black Friday at all - I hate the crowds and cannot stand getting up early at all - especially after the food fest the day before.

However, I am offering Black Friday deals/codes all week for my customers!  This is my first time doing this, so we will see how this goes.

This is what I am offering:

1.  Key Fob Wristlets personalized or with a sports theme for $8.  These are nice and thick - made with ribbon or fabric and batting for long life.  The cording underneath helps support the fabric and stays cleaner longer!  I love them!  Discount code good through 12/31/2016

2. Hooded Towels with personalization for $20!  This is a steal because I normally charge $30 without personalization and $35 to $45 depending on how intricate they want the add-ons.  I use Kohl's towel for the most part, but have to stray if there are specific towel colors requested. Discount Code good through 12/31/16

3. Scout Patches - I am offering to sew on 10 free scout patches (discount to be used all at once).  My scout customers are my bread and butter.  There are months I have done up to 500, so I felt like I had to offer them something!  Coupon Code good through 05/31/17

4.  Garden Flags for $15 with a name, $25 with a full design.  These are made with burlap and woven mold free fabric.  Limited quantities are available since this is something I am dabbling in.  Coupon Code good through 12/31/16

another stocking flag design

5. From the most popular item I make and by demand, I am offering the ColorBlock border on my Tshirt Quilt for FREE!  It is either this option or $40 off $200 or more.  Coupon Code good for one year from the date issued.

I am hoping my customers appreciate this and it brings in some new customers along the way.  I am so super custom, that is difficult for new customers to understand sometimes and the typical way of marketing does not work.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year for a few friends, so I have that as well, but we are trying to keep it simple.  I will save it for another post - maybe tomorrow!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

So sad today

I am going to bring it up, only in so much as it has affected me.

This election has been the worst I have ever gone through.  I have lost friends over our differences - really pathetic actually, so superficial.

So, this friend of mine, we have never agreed politically.  However, in all our differences, we had such fun - laughing, talking about the earth, social injustices, the education of our children, sewing, knitting, crocheting, art - she is/was my most well-rounded friend.

Well, she took a stand against Trump and for Clinton like no-one I have ever seen.  Last night, she wrote that she would unfriend anyone who voted for Trump (really she meant anyone against Clinton).  Now, I will not say who I voted for, but I did not vote for Clinton (don't assume only 2 parties either).  I basically told her that a new day would come, people would go to work, kids would go to school, husbands and wives would argue and love, friends would disagree and hug. 

She responded to me by saying she hoped I was right, but would hold me PERSONALLY responsibly for anything bad that happens while Trump was in office and that by NOT voting for Clinton, I was being anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-black, anti-hispanic, anti-women, basically, against any minority group, which is ludicrous.

It actually hurt my heart to be told this by a person who sat in my home drinking wine and/or coffee, who I went to her home and watched her kids.  Someone I shopped with.

I don't do these things very often or with everyone I know.

My husband said she will get over it eventually.  I know he is right, but I really hate how the media and this election has polarized this country.  Very sad indeed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Putting myself out there....again

Sometimes, I think I am a glutton for punishment, maybe sometimes I deserve it, mostly though I don't.  I am harder on myself than anyone could ever be on me.

To preface this post, I am going to give you a very brief background about my childhood and why it affects me today and why I seem to disappear, then reappear, and yes, even make bad decisions.

The first time I remember my mother beating me was when I was 3.  I said something wrong is all I remember.  She beat me with a wooden spoon until it broke, then she beat me some more.  I was in a bathroom.  That is all I remember about that time.

It was the start (in my mind) of a long 10-12 years of being physically abused often, but mental abused daily.  I was lucky in that belts, spatulas, spoons, etc were her only choices and I did not endure some of the horrors people make movies and write books about.  I just had welps and scabs - usually in places no one could see.  Once I was old enough to go to PE at school, she kept it on my back so a shirt could always cover it.

Usually I was beaten when she was in a bad mood, not really when I did something wrong, so it kind of messed me up a bit.  That and the constant name calling, degrading, gas lighting.  My mother, was and is a very sick person.

Fortunately for me, I had a wonderful grandmother that I escaped to and through her I learned how a parental figure should act and what love really was, so I don't have problems with forming long term relationships (been married 17+ years).  However, I have difficulty forming those superficial friendships, so I have very few friends - like 2, maybe.

Besides all that, we were poor, like living with a dirt floor poor.  Not my whole childhood, but enough that I remember it.

I am SO NOT looking for sympathy, just asking, please, that you refrain from attacking me.  My instinct is to flee big time.  I am not a fighter.  So, even though I am going to talk about our finances again, I don't want anyone telling me my kids will hate me, how stupid we are, etc.  Our actions may be stupid, but we are not.  We may make decisions you would not, but name calling is not called for.  I don't do it, as I know first hand how it feels.

Yes, I may be too sensitive, but I cannot help it.  Yes, I have gone to therapists, counseling both individual and in a group.  I did not carry on this abuse cycle - I do not abuse my kids in any way.  I am prone to depression and struggle with self-image, but my daughter does not, nor do my boys.  A wonderful gift I was able to give them!

So, in a nutshell - that is why I am over sensitive, make bad decisions sometimes, back off, come back, etc, etc.  Also, it is why I am asking you to be sensitive in your responses.

Now, on to the juicy part.

We are back in debt.


Wow - that took a lot of courage for me.  I have been sitting on this for several months.

Over the summer, we made 4 big purchases that are the ONLY reasons for our debt and yes, we are back on pay off mode.

1) A truck to pull our travel trailer - $29,999
2) A travel trailer to pull behind the truck - $22,000
3) A Babylock 1-needle Embroidery Machine - $6,000
4) A Babylock 10-needle Embroidery Machine - $8,500

I am guessing a little at what we bought them each for - I am not looking it up right now, but I do know our currently balances. 

Ok, current balances -

Truck loan - $27,790
Travel Trailer - $19,168
Machines - $7,705
Total - $54,663

My business is paying the machine off slowly, but personally we will pay them much faster.  They have taken my business to the next level and I am shipping to all over the country now through my website.  Mainly, embroidery items.  The quilts are still 100% local.

At this point, we have taken 6 trips in the travel trailer - one to New Mexico, which was LOVELY!

That is all for now.  I will post later about what we are doing (we made tough decisions), where the rest of the money is going, etc, etc.

That actually feels better - it was like I was holding on to a dark secret or something!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Solving a homeschool/work problem?

When we decided to homeschool this time, my business was still in the slow stages.  I got a little work here and there, I was still sewing for pleasure.  It was doable with homeschool in a BIG way.

However, I did a small show in February highlighting my tshirt quilts at a drill team competition.  It has turned out to be a GREAT event for business.  I have gotten 6 orders from direct customers AND 6-9 (can't remember off the top of my head) from them telling friends.

Then in the summer, I sent my info to the scout leaders in the area telling them about my ability to sew patches on uniforms.  Woo boy - that was an amazing marketing strategy.  I may be getting a contract with a local shop to do all the pre-orders.

Also, I ran a few Facebook ads from late August to just about a month ago - maybe 6 ad runs.  It brought likes for my page up from 150 to over 500.  Now, this brought in more than I could have ever imagined.  The $100 or so I spent on all the ads looks small comparatively to what I brought in. 

Besides that, I added 2 embroidery machines to the mix. 

Needless to say - I am slammed beyond measure and really could use a part-time employee (maybe 10-15 hours a week).  I am trying to train my daughter, but she is not really interested.

What does this have to do with homeschool?  Well, it is seriously difficult to homeschool while customers are knocking on the door, calling, texting, emailing, etc. 

The kids are old enough that most of their work is self directed, but I do like to check their math as they go, explain the writing, talk about the history, etc.  However, this means I may have 15 minutes while they are working, then 1 has a question, then 5 minutes and another has a question, then one is ready for the test, or ready to talk about the writing the assignment, then I may get 30 minutes, but then it is time for math (for the 1st), then another 20 minutes, and it is time for math for the other.  It goes on like this until about 2 in the afternoon. While getting up and going in the morning, I am starting to get wind down for the day when really, it is time for me to just start my job!

So, since something has to give, it is the homeschooling aspect.  We found a really neat school that is part private/part homeschool.  For two days they go to private school and then for two days, they homeschool.  They get one day per week for their extra curriculars.  I would not have to plan, grade or facilitate any curriculum - I am just there on the homeschool days to answer questions and make sure they finish.  Which, my kiddos do fine already. 

This means 2 days a week, I can work without interruption.  2 days I can work a little more than I am doing now, and 1 day will be up in the air, because I do not know what their extra curriculars will be like.

This system helps me keep the homeschool part I love, while getting rid of the administrative portion (which is huge!)

The cost is less than 1/2 of a private school, but they get the benefits of it.  It is a classical private school, so they will learn Latin, Rhetoric and most classes are taught in with the Socratic method - which I LOVE.

We have to go through the admissions process still, but I have a really good feeling about it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Leaving Texas?

 Sorry, title change - the content did not reflect the previous one of Getting into the Flow...

The past couple of months have been very difficult for me.  Starting a new aspect of my work, starting homeschooling up, a show, a trip, a learning curve that is through the roof.

My to-do list gets longer everyday and though I am running to keep up, it just seemed to be getting away from me.  I already cut out non-essentials.  I hardly ever see friends - literally, they are not calling any more at all.  I work around 16 hours a day, every single day.  I have not been out on a date with my husband since who knows when.   Our dates consist of running errands.  I am not reading, cleaning, cooking, working out or anything.

If it does not involve my work or homeschool, it does not get done.

Sigh.  No life at all.

However, I just closed accepting anymore quilts until every single one I have is complete.  I already have a waiting list.  To me, this is insane.  People are willing to wait 6+ months for one of my quilts.  Yes, I have raised the prices.

We just got back from our trip to New Mexico.  Sigh.  I seriously did not want to return to the hotter than hell and humid as hell place we live.  Darrell got sick immediately upon returning and my lethargy hit me again.  My eye is twitching and the bad sleeping returned.  I did not want to drink once while we were on the trip!

Yes, work play into this, but the fact is, we hate this city.  We want to leave, but work keeps us here.  We are currently brainstorming ideas on moving out of Texas, but I never know where life will leave us.

As for homeschool, this morning was the best yet!  We have been struggling to make it work, but getting up 1/2 hour earlier and doing math first thing makes for a very lovely day.  All done before lunch!

Now off to take Laney to sign language class and a run to Joanns for me.  I need thread in a BIG way!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I am drowning.  I have so much to make for the business.  Saying I am underwater is understating it!

I currently have 20 quilts on order - 18 due by Christmas. 

One customer is bring me TONS of applique and embroidery.

I keep thinking if I get over this hump, then I can get back on top of things and move forward.  I LOVE this job - the only one I really have ever loved.  Seems as though people are seeing that because just when I think I am starting to make headway, more come rolling in.

Yes, part of this is my fault, because I cannot say no!  Because so much of what I do is memory oriented, the stories are so sad! 

My son killed himself before he could find out his girlfriend was pregnant with his son.  My grandson is turning 1 now and I want to give him a memory bear from the shirt his Dad (her son) used to wear all the time.  Along with the bear, I am giving him a picture of his father wearing the shirt.

 This is just one story, there are many others!  The husband died and she wants a quilt from all his Harley shirts, a grandmother is surprising her grandchild with a quilt from all the competition shirts she saved,  pictures taken from a PeaceCorp expedition that she wants incorporated into a quilt, birthday this, Christmas that. 

Most break my heart and I cry a bit when I am making them.  Others are just for fun times and to their excitement makes it too hard to say no. 

My current delivery time is March 2017 and people are still ordering!  They don't care!  Some do and want an earlier time, but most are ok with it.

I am still sewing patches and embroidering - LOTS and LOTS of hooded towels.  They are fairly quick and fun though.  Not pushing, but just in case - yes, I can ship, so if you want one just let me know!  I also personalize them.  They are $25 as is, and $30 with an embroidered name.  I have over 100 styles, too!

So much more going on, but I have to get back to work.  Deadlines to meet!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Quilt for College Boy

Well, I am delivering my second child to college this weekend.  So far, I am not tender hearted.  I am not sure if it because he started pulling away two months ago or the two I still have at home and am homeschooling.  He is just ready and I know it.  It is not sad that he going, but rather, I am so incredibly proud that he is excited and ready to start this new part of his life with confidence and perseverance. 

I bought some fabric back in January - Modern Essential for Zen Chic by Moda.  It is all this science oriented fabrics and designs - very cool for my engineering oriented kid.

Then, while perusing You Tube, I came across this video from Missouri Star Quilt Company and fell in love with the design.  I wasn't about to buy the book though - as I don't often follow patterns.  No time.

So, I made my own based on the one page pdf they had.

Here is what I came up with!  He loves it and in fact, wrapped all up in it right now.  (we are in our rv)

David posing with his new quilt

Back side - using up the fabric in the pile.
Overall, this is one of my favorite quilts I have made - very fun and eye catching, but so easy to make - a little dull actually.  I would do it again, but not in 2 days - too much going on!

He moves in tomorrow and we will stay here one more night - have to rush back because Laney has a sign language class.  Sigh.  Never ending or when it does, I will probably wish it was still here.  The paradox of parenting!

Hope you are all having a great holiday weekend - for those in the US at least.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Memory Bear

My week really has been a week of catching up.  I am not going finish everything I wanted to finish, but I am going to make quite a dent in it all and I am holding out hope still.

My list for the week included (starting this past Friday through this coming Saturday)

  1. Doily Quilt - literally, I am sewing 30+ doilies this customer's mother had made onto a quilt - talk about labor!  I will not do one of these again.  I am about half way.  My walking foot broke, so I had to order another.  It came tonight.
  2. 33 shirts and jumpers to put embroidery and applique designs on.  Each one different.  I want to shoot myself. 10 down - 23 to go.
  3. A Cube Quilt for my son - I HAVE to get this one done.  At this point, I have completely cut the front.  Need to start sewing...
  4. 100 Blue Line Key Chains - DONE!
  5. 1 Blue Line Pin - DONE!
  6. Make a Memory Bear for Mock-up - DONE!
  7. 2 Embroidered Logo shirt - same design, different color
  8. Embroidered slogan on a patch
  9. Lay out one quilt with specialty requests
  10. Lay out one quilt with just 55 shirts - Whew!
Although it seems like I am not getting far, I have put a large dent into all of these.  However, now I am need to focus on one thing at a time and just get it done.

So, for tomorrow, I am going to embroider the design for the quilt, lay it out, take a picture - done.  Then, I am going to embroider the slogan on the patch - done.  Then, embroider the 2 logos - done.  3 items done by the end of the morning.  This is a MUST!

My son has band lessons, so I will have to leave, but I will start with my son's quilt.  It is the next most important thing to get done.  I will work until we leave, then start back up when we get back.  I hope to get the front sewn tomorrow.

Before I get back to it, here is a picture of the memory bear.  Not bad for a first run, and I plan on make some adjustments for the next one.

There are a few adjustments to be made, but I think it turned out great!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Morning

Most of the kids in my area are starting school today.  Ah, I love the fact that I am not stressing about it - getting kids up early to catch the bus at 6:28 a.m.  My growing teens are still sleeping this morning because we are not starting today.

David, who is heading off to college, cannot move into his dorm until Labor Day.  They are on the quarter system, so I guess the year goes a little different.  Works for me though, that is how I remember the school year going - after Labor Day.

Since we have to travel to deliver him, we are holding off homeschool until then.  Plus, we are taking over his room.  I am such a bad mom - this weekend, we cleared out his room and put in 2 desks and a sleeper sofa, well, I am waiting for the sleeper sofa today. 

In my defense, he is hardly here any more.  The room is still his while he is here and he will be afforded all the privacy, etc.  It will be our homeschool/guest room while he is gone.  This kid has been gone for the past two years; he is not even batting an eye.  Before I even thought of this, his room echoed because he cleaned everything out!  At least now, it feels cozy with no echo.

As for work, there is still so much on my plate - it is good, I am making money, but Darrell is feeling neglected and so is the house.  The kitchen will be cleaned to my standards today.

I feel horrible though - I promised Carla some treats for her kids and I then I got completely swamped!  Carla - they are coming!  I am waiting on something for you actually, then I will ship this week!

Also, I HAVE to get a quilt done for my son.  Sigh, too much at times, it is overwhelming.

Quilts on order:

1.  One Doily Quilt - Should be amazing when I am done - if I ever get done.  I probably will not do this again.

2.  Five T-Shirt Quilts - all of varying sizes and difficulties.  Some are straight forward, but HUGE - 60 plus shirts, another one is all baby clothes, and another one is from a UT Head Cheerleader - so lots of embroidery and special requests.

3.  One made from the baby bedding.  It is an interesting one.

4. Eight lap size made from clothing - a continuation of the one set of 9 queen size I did before. This came Saturday night - kick in the gut really because I cannot take any more Quilt orders for Christmas.  It is going to cause trouble with a few of my customers who I told to get to me, but they didn't.  I have a very hard time saying no.

Then, in addition to this, there is all the scout patches and embroidery that constantly comes in.

NOW, I go and do a dumb thing like join a 2-day craft show.  Unbelievable!

I have to make things for that as well.  Like hooded towels, hot pads, embroidered kitchen towels, key fobs and I have blanks for sell as well.  Oh yeah, and make a couple of quilts for display!  (hopefully, I can get someone to let me borrow one!)

Oh, did I mention it is outside?  LOL

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Halloween Buckets

So, if you cannot tell - I have recently began offering embroidery and applique to my customers.  Well, business BOOMED!  I am working 12+ hours every single day.  I love what I do, so I don't mind so much, but it is taking time away from the family.  I try to stop whenever they talk to me and make time for breaks on the weekend.  Plus, I need to fit homeschool in as well.  There is no such thing as balance!

The conference this past weekend went pretty good.  I learned  quite a bit and met some fun people.  After a rough start that is - the whole crowd thing seriously overwhelms me.

One of the main things I was introduced to is blanks.  It is a blank something - my focus is blanks that can be embroidered or applique on, but they had heat transfer items as well.

My first thing to throw out there is Halloween Buckets!  They are absolutely adorable.  I am getting a lot of feedback, but they have to be pre-ordered, so people are hesitant to purchase which I TOTALLY understand.  I may have to buy a bunch and see what I can do - it is hit and miss, but I have a show coming up at the end of September, so I think they would do very well there, but I need the inventory.

I can embroider on them or leave them blank and they are pretty big, too!  ~ 10" tall and 10" in diameter.

Right now though - it is monogramming backpacks and lunchboxes.  12 today minimum and more coming!

I still have 7 quilts on order as well.  Need to get going on those. 

OK, that was lunch - back to the grindstone!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Typing on my phone, so this post will look odd.

This is the bag I embroidered for the Applique Getaway Conference I am going to.  Currently sitting in the airport ready to get it started.

I am excited about it, but nervous because I am going alone and I don't do crowds well.  However, I will be attending classes and I NEED to learn, so I hope that alleviates some if those fears.

I hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Need a Place to Get it Out

I know - back and forth - make up your mind.  I missed being able to vent here and although I kept up with some of you - not enough.

It is going to be different this time - I am not trying to get out of debt anymore, so I am not going to talk about money very much - just so much as it pertains to venting.

There is going to be a TON about my sewing.  It is my daily life - and I do mean daily.  I am going to talk a lot about Homeschool because again, it is my daily life.  I am going to talk about camping, the lack of cooking, the lack of exercise and how crazy I feel because I am not very good at balancing it all - not one little bit.

My house is a wreck, but only slightly so because I have a wonderful husband who is picking up the slack, even if it not exactly how I would do it.  I am getting over it because, well, I don't have time!

I screwed up an order for a customer - she doesn't know it and probably never will as I caught it, but it is due this week - a tshirt quilt, along with 2 other quilts, so I am beyond slammed!  I was supposed to put a color block border on it, but I put a plain border on it.  Which meant, I had to take the binding and border off and try to piece together batting backing and the color block border with only 1/2" space to work with.  Sigh, I did not get much last night.

We started a lite version of homeschool last week - math, grammar, writing, programming and a reader, but we are not doing homeschool this week because I am way TOO slammed.  I am going to an Applique Getaway Conference this weekend as well, so that puts even more pressure on me.

I will leave you with a couple of a pix of new items I am doing - more on that later though.

Red and Blue Line Key Fobs

Hooded Towels