life,

Not as busy as we think.

"The art of busyness is to convey genuine alarm at the pace of your life and a helpless resignation, as if someone else is setting the clock, and yet simultaneously make it clear that you are completely on top of your game. These are not exactly humble brags. They are more like fretful brags, and they are increasingly becoming the idiom of our age."

"The answer to feeling oppressively busy, he says, is to stop telling yourself that you’re oppressively busy, because the truth is that we are all much less busy than we think we are."

— Excerpts from Hannah Rosin’s article about the book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One Has the Time.

I’m already looking forward to reading this.

life, books,

Plan, to be surprised.

image

Photo by Paige French

Life has a way of running everything together, so that before one thing is completely done, another has already begun. I suppose this is how weeks and months can pass by unnoticed, and somehow we realize that it’s almost April.

This collision of timing is exactly what happened when — in the middle of planning for The Makers Summit (which was a super inspiring, beautiful, wonderful day!) — Andrew and I learned that we were expecting a baby.

In the past few weeks, we’ve finally been able to tell friends and family. And while it’s early on this road we’ve never been down before, it’s already been full of surprises.

image

So far, I’ve been surprised:

· that as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I immediately wanted to only think/talk/pin about baby and pregnancy things. This is a very strange thing for someone who hasn’t spent much time thinking about having children of my own. And difficult because we couldn’t tell anyone for a little while.

· about how absolutely exhausted I’ve been

· that I haven’t had more compassion for my pregnant friends in the past

· that I’m not too concerned about eating healthy just because I’m pregnant. Most of the time I find myself just trying to find something to eat that sounds decent, which has begun to include cheetos and pop tarts.

· by the overwhelming support and encouragement from friends and family. I have to admit that as our friends without kids have dwindled over the past nine years, there were times I felt like new babies meant somehow I would lose a friend. A ‘loss of solidarity’ is how another friend put it. And while I know in my heart that it’s silly, I also know that I have friends out there who may feel the same way. Andrew and I have felt so much support from our friends — both parents and non-parents — and it’s meant so much to us.

· by the heartburn. So much awful heartburn!

life,

on balance.

We’re in go mode again, this time getting everything ready for this weekend’s Makers Summit.

In the back of my mind, I’m still thinking a lot about rest and balance and what that means — especially in times like this, when there’s just so much to be done. I’m more convinced than ever that rest does not mean doing nothing. Some days, it’s truly more relaxing to get things off the to-do list than to ‘relax’ in front of the TV.

One of the most helpful things I’ve read about the topic comes from the famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) book by Sheryl Sandburg, Lean In. She argues that work-life balance and the idea of ‘having it all’ is a myth. And it’s actually a pretty harmful one. She says ‘having it all’ undermines the realities of give and take that are required to live life every single day.

Sacrifices come in all shapes and sizes, and we’re constantly choosing to set one thing aside in exchange for another — maybe it’s healthy eating, maybe it’s sleep, work, or having a clean house. But setting priorities are a necessary part of life, and something you don’t just do once. The more I think about it, a balance where every aspect of life holds equal importance at all times seems both tedious and precarious. I know that I can’t do everything well all the time. And I’m setting myself up for failure if I try to convince myself I can have it all.

For today, give-and-take means that I spent more on groceries to buy myself flowers and enough prepared meals to get us through Saturday. I may not be cooking from scratch this week, or cleaning my house, or being Wonder Woman, but I’ll be able to spend a few minutes with my family, get a decent amount of sleep, and get everything checked off the to do list. And that’s what is important for the moment.

life, Business,

late-night update.

Been spending lots of time on The Makers Summit lately.

Making a new site with Andrew (and his amazing new programming skills) and planning all kinds of wonderful things for the event. I’ve also been writing more over here.

Do What You Love?

I really enjoyed this article that a friend shared with me today. I’ve had a handful of conversations around this very topic in the past month and it’s definitely worth the long-ish read.

The article challenges the oft-repeated mantra of the creative industry, Do What You Love — a phrase that’s started to ring more and more hollow as of late. The author, Miya Tokumitsu outlines the deeper consequences of this philosophy. And it’s incredibly thought-provoking.

imageA quick search illustrates how pervasive (and persuasive) this idea is.

I’m including a couple key excerpts from Miya’s article below, but these are tiny pieces of a much bigger and more important essay. I strongly recommend you set aside a few minutes to read and consider what she has to say.

"By keeping us focused on ourselves and our individual happiness, [Do What You Love] distracts us from the working conditions of others while validating our own choices and relieving us from obligations to all who labor, whether or not they love it."

"No one is arguing that enjoyable work should be less so. But emotionally satisfying work is still work, and acknowledging it as such doesn’t undermine it in any way."

"It hides the fact that if we acknowledged all of our work as work, we could set appropriate limits for it, demanding fair compensation and humane schedules that allow for family and leisure time."

This line of thinking makes me even more eager to dig into this book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for weeks now.

the best part.

I love having a reason to give gifts. To me, Christmas is a wonderful excuse to buy and make things for the people who matter to me.

If I’m really honest, I should be more generous all year long. So presents this time of year (no matter how small) are a great reminder of how much better it feels to give and share good things with each other.

Rosemary sprigs + leftover pipe cleaners = tiny fragrant wreaths

on work and rest.

To say there’s been a lot going on lately would be an understatement, but lots of work means there’s a lot to be excited about.

image

First, The 2014 Makers Summit site launched this week, momentous not only because of the fabulous new lineup of speakers this year, but also because of how it was made. Andrew has spent the last three months learning to code at The Iron Yard Academy. This website was the first real-life project that he has not only designed, but also developed. I’m so proud of his endless curiosity and his desire to learn.

Check out the finished site here and be sure to notice the amazing sponsors and speakers who will be part of the event on March 1. If you’re a creative business owner, this day is for you!

image

Also coming up very soon is the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Fair! I still find it hard to believe we’re already shopping for Christmas gifts and making wreaths. But somehow, Thanksgiving is this week!

While the Indie Craft Parade world has been full of events and fun things, my day job has also been a non-stop whirlwind. Professionally, this year has been challenging, simply due to the sheer volume of work needing to be accomplished. I’m happy to be part of a team who knows how to make things happen. I’m also incredibly blessed to work for a company who realizes that life should not equal work.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how busy we are. Andrew and I have intentionally cut things from our lives in order to make more space to live, and yet it seems that we immediately fill that space up again.

When I do rest, it’s hard not to feel guilty or to make excuses for spending time reading a book. When did that happen?

"Productivity is not the only measure of time well spent."
— Nikaela Marie Peters, Kinfolk Volume 9

It’s been important for me to realize how much these feelings are self-imposed. Getting things done is wonderful. But stopping to enjoy life is necessary.

I’m starting by reclaiming my weekends. Last Saturday, I spent time sitting on my front porch with friends. Doing…nothing. Just sitting, talking, and drinking hot chocolate.

And today was another lovely restful weekend day. Nothing planned beyond a morning spent sharing breakfast with friends. We had an impromptu afternoon of errands and now, I’m spending some time on the computer getting a few things done before I do some reading. Without feeling guilty.

Here’s to more weekends and holidays that are truly restful.

rest and recovery.

This year, I’ve had several rounds of major dental work. The last couple days have been spent recovering from the most recent surgery.

image

In spite of how sad I look, yesterday was a good day.

I was reminded just how blessed I am. Friends and coworkers checking in via text message, delivering milkshakes and applesauce and making dinner for us. My mom insisting on coming over to do my dishes so I wouldn’t worry about it. Having a live-in nurse(ing student) to help me figure out the medications I’m supposed to be taking and when.

I am so grateful for this community that surrounds me. And for the opportunity to learn how to accept the help — and rest — that’s being offered to me.

What am I making?

As a constant promoter of makers and their handmade goods, I often get asked what it is that I make. Surprisingly, it’s a question that I don’t have an answer for, and haven’t had for a while now.

If I think about it too long, it makes me sad because I’ve always made things: as a kid it was friendship bracelets and clothes for my stuffed bunny, and more recently there was sewing, paper goods, felt food and gifts for friends.

But all that was before Indie Craft Parade.

Since beginning this venture several years ago, my creativity has been channeled and stretched in many different directions. Very few of which feel like ‘making’.


Lately I’ve been trying to reconcile the desire to create something tangible with what I actually spend my evenings doing — supporting and connecting others who make. To be fair, I don’t know if there’s anything more energizing than seeing a creative person succeed doing what they’re gifted to do. But sometimes, not having something that I make — a thing — makes me feel like an impostor of sorts.

This has been on my mind a lot lately, and my conclusion at the moment is that if I want to live a balanced life, I need to be okay with the more abstract things I’m making: connections, opportunities, relationships on behalf of others.

The reality is that I’m incredibly blessed by what I get to do as a part of Indie Craft Parade and at my full-time job. So I guess for the past four years I have been making something, it’s just not something you can buy or sell. And it’s not an easy answer to the question “What do you make?”.