My patterns are coming to fromblankpages.bigcartel.com! You can purchase a few of them now!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nothing's Allowed PenPals +

I created a sign up form for the Nothing's Allowed Penpals group! You can sign up HERE. or just scroll below, I think I can embed it in this post. :)

To be clear, EVERYONE is invited. My posts lately have been more directed to those who may or may not be struggling with habits they see forming in their own lives, or are trying to overcome them. But this group is for anyone and everyone who likes happy mail, loves to support and lift others, loves to receive support and encouragement, just likes mail, etc. You don't have to relate in any way to any of the posts I've recently shared to join. Everyone is welcome!! So if you are interested in sending out letters or receiving letters, I hope you'll join in! Read through the questionnaire for more details.





I'll be honest, I myself am not always great at sending mail, and responding. I think this will be a fantastic way for me to strengthen my skills in this area. I am going into this with no expectations from myself or from others. I am so excited to send out mail to everyone! But I don't expect everyone to respond. I won't be disappointed or discouraged if they don't. And I hope others won't be when I forget or life gets in the way. I'm not sure how "no expectations" will keep this group going, but hopefully because it's based on our own freedom to join at-will, it will at least for some, become a great and wonderful thing in our lives!! :)

If you ever at any point find yourself struggling, with anything in your life, this is a great distraction to turn your attention to something else! Thinking of others and serving others ALWAYS makes my problems seem smaller or disappear altogether. Please remember this! And if you ever are feeling the need for some mail, just shout out and we can in mass send you some #happymail!! :)

***

I have so many thoughts in response to the responses I've received from my posts from last week. Thank you all for your love and support, and thank you for sharing your stories and experiences. It is wonderful to feel the comradery and trust that we have as a group of strangers, who share in the same hobbies and joys as well as struggles. If you find yourself in over your head with your habits and struggles, PLEASE get some help. I would love to help and support everyone, but I'm not a professional, and I do not have that ability to help to the extent that you may need it. I wish I had received help when I first recognized my situation. Don't make the same mistake I did. It's not worth it. I support you 1000% to get the help you need!! I did a google search for "shopaholic support group" and there are a LOT of links for online support groups, "12 Steps" and other steps and how to overcome links. Unfortunately this is something you have to go through. No one can do it for you. Getting help and support is critical!! Please don't do it on your own. And please don't shrug it off and leave for another day, or expect it to just go away. It won't.


I love the ideas that I've heard for fabric swaps and shopping each other stashes, to avoid purchasing more but still being able to get fabrics you may need or want for specific projects. If you want to start up groups on Flickr, or Instagram, I will do all I can to spread the word and give you the support you need. As much as I'd love to start these groups and get them up and going, I do not have the time right now in my life to do that. My family is at a stage where they need me more and more and I am in a balancing act trying to fit everything in already. So please understand that I'm hear to help you how I can. You have great ideas, and I have no doubt that you can do wonders to help others, so lets all help each other and work together!!! And please keep me updated in what efforts are being made so I can share!! :)


I love this quote that was in my inbox the other morning, and find it applicable.


In my own experience, the only way to truly overcome, is not to replace one habit with another, but to find healing and love. To change the patterns of thought that lead to the problem in the first place. I could go on and on about what has helped me. If you want to know, I'm happy to share. But as I have tried to write all my recent thoughts, I don't even know where to begin.

The world is not going to change. It will just keep becoming more difficult to overcome on our own. The fabric markets will keep pushing the new collections, people are still going to keep trying to make a living, I'm going to keep trying to sell my patterns. Selling isn't bad, buying isn't bad. But there is a balance that needs to be found within ourselves. I'm so glad I could help some of you resist the urges of the Labor Day sales. And that you for helping me to do the same!! :) I don't want fabric shops to hate me. I'm not out to destroy anyone!! I have my own coupon code going on for the rest of the day as well (Code: "LaborDayLove" for 10% off $5 or more). It's a fine balance, but when we are in the depths of our struggles, avoiding our temptations is the most important place to start! (ok, sorry to put my code right there, but I want to share for those who want to use it, but don't want to tempt anyone.... urg. it's a tight spot to be in. ;)


I hope you know how much I really care for all of you, even if I don't know you. The struggle I shared last week is so real, and my heart goes out to all of you who relate to one degree or another.

Hugs!! 

 I can't wait to start the penpal group!! :)


Diane

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shop Your Stash Weekend!!!

This weekend is an overload weekend of sales and coupons.

DON'T GIVE IN!!!!!!!

Instead, shop your own stash!!!!! Put down your phone. Run away from your computer. Use this holiday weekend for a vacation from technology!! Don't put yourself in temptations way!!! Be strong! I believe in you! I know you can do it!!! Pray, a lot.

Because NOT doing is seldom enough, here's what TO DO:

SHOP YOUR STASH!!

Open your stash. Take out every piece of your fabric, one at a time. Unfold it. Admire it. Pet it. See how beautiful it is. Fold it up and put it away. Take out another piece of fabric. Unfold it. Admire it. Be overwhelmed with contentment for what you do have!! SEARCH for that contentment. Feel awesome for what you have!! Find those hidden beauties that you forgot you had.

Play. Make bundles. Think of projects you can make only using your beautiful bundles you just put together. Practice putting together color combos. Practice combining different values. (See my Celestial Star QAL post on color and value). Learn about color and patterns. Sort your fabrics in a new way.

Take pictures of what you already own, your favorite prints, your amazing bundles. If you do get on IG, close your eyes and share your pictures using hashtag #ShopYourOwnStash. And only browse that hashtag this weekend!! Let's celebrate what we already own!!

Make destash piles. Yes, if you find a fabric you aren't loving anymore, set it aside. After the weekend, do a destash! I will help you if you want!! Make back some of the money you spent, pay off some debts, buy some postage for the "Nothing Allowed Penpals" group. ;) (more info coming soon)

You can do it!! I believe in you!! You are not alone!! If you struggle, contact me!!! I'll be your support!! Don't do anything until you hear back from me!!! (And I'll be waiting until all the sales are over to respond. J/k, I won't wait.) :) let's do this together!!!!

I give you permission to not by anything. I give you permission to take a vacation this weekend from buying anything. I give you permission to be free and feel the strength you have inside!!! It's in there!! You shared your stories with me, openly and privately, and that shows me you have strength, and desire. WE can do this!! You are not alone. It's OK!!

Lots of love!!!
Diane

So Many Thoughts + Thank You! + "Nothings Allowed Pen Pals"

Wow. Just wow. I didn't know what to expect when I wrote and published my post the other day. I actually didn't think at all how people would respond. I just knew I needed to write it, and I needed to do it for me. I don't know that I'm brave or courageous for sharing all of that. But boy do I feel good. Sharing and getting that out gives me such a free feeling! Thank you. Thank you for accepting me and my experience. Thank you for your positive feedback. Thank you for sharing some of your stories.

 There are a few things that I have been thinking about and want to add. If you looked at me and my family, you would have NO idea what I have been going through. We pay all of our bills every month and on time. We have really good credit. We drive a nice mini van (if you can say that mini vans are nice. haha. We do like ours though.) We live in nice neighborhoods (not ritzy, but good neighborhoods). We may not have the nicest furniture, or everything we want, but we have enough and are content. Compared to the "world's standards" we are probably doing great. Probably where most of America is or better. We're not "rich", but we make it and we are ok. I know a few comments included, "not as bad as you", and hopefully you aren't as bad as I was. But I want to point out that you don't have to be declaring bankruptcy or not making your bills every month, or not able to buy food for your family, for a spending addiction to be a serious problem. We probably have less debt than a lot of people. Sure we probably have more than a lot of people too with our student loans. I appreciate those of you who have said "thank you", and I have been thinking a lot about those of you who say you recognize a lot of the same tendencies or feelings. My heart goes out to you! And I feel so grateful that you can recognize that now! At whatever point of the spectrum you're at. I think this is such an important problem to recognize in ones self, and I just want to point out that you don't have to wait to be financially drowning for it to be a serious problem.

When we lived in Orem, this was probably 2+ years into my fabric purchasing (and let me clarify, that at times I would stop buying fabric, and I thought I was doing awesome! But if it wasn't fabric, it was something else: stamps, scrapbook paper, a cricut and a ton of those crazy cartridges, online classes, etc etc. I didn't just have a fabric problem, I had a spending problem.) Anyway, at some point, before all my health problems came on, I remember talking to my sister on the phone. I told her, "I think I have a spending problem. I am struggling and depressed, and I am buying everything, and I can't stop. I can't stop buying things. I think I need help." She is so nice, and we talked about shopaholic support groups. I googled some in the area. I can't remember if I found one online or not. I think I talked to my husband about it too, and maybe my mom. But for some reason I didn't look into it any further than that. I think because no one else really seemed to think it was a problem. I don't know. I didn't go to any support groups, I didn't talk to anyone about my problem. I'm not even going to start thinking about how much that probably could have changed my life. At one point in my journey I KNEW I had a problem, and I KNEW I needed help. But I didn't get it. I know it would have made such a difference. Instead, I went down that road all by myself. And it was a long road.

My heart breaks to know that there are others that are going through what I went/am going through. Whether you are just starting on this journey, are in the middle of it, or at the tail end. Or perhaps you just know someone else who is dealing with similar things. Maybe your not in as deep as I was/am, and you think, "oh, it's not serious. I'm fine! It's not a problem for me." I think the world would have told me, and it did tell me, that I didn't have a problem, but I did.

I think the biggest problem with any kind of addiction is feeling like you are alone in it. I think feeling alone goes hand-in-hand with feeling shame, embarrassment, helplessness, hopelessness, and everything else that I'm forgetting. Maybe it's just me, but I went years and years feeling like I had no one to turn to in my struggles. I had no one to talk to about it. Nowhere to get help. And sometimes that fed my addiction more than anything.

I want you, anyone and everyone that is in any stage of this, to know you are not alone!

From the deepest reaches of my heart,

You Are Not Alone!

And I mean it.


I worry about you. I worry about you that responded, and for the many of you that didn't comment that might be living in similar circumstances, I worry for those who are in denial and don't want to admit it. I worry in love. I worry because at least in my circumstances, these problems were a result of larger and bigger problems that I was trying to avoid. Issues that, at least some of them, had been building up my whole life. I worry that you might have bigger challenges to face, and because this is a hard situation to overcome if you feel like you are alone in this.


I don't know you, and perhaps some of you I do. I don't know that I can be what you need as a support. I don't know that I can give you the help you need. But I want to try to help in ways that I can. I would love to take on this issue, situation, I don't know what to call it, and make a change in the way that we support each other online, on IG, wherever. To put a stop to the deceptions that "everyone can afford this except me." or "I need this too to be cool and included." "I want to have friends to I have to send awesome expensive swap packages." Or whatever is your downfall to buying.


I have thought a LOT about the society we live in, and the online community that we are a part of, or aren't. Though we can be such great friends, and so supportive of each other, I notice from my own observations, as well as many of your comments, that there is a dangerous habit of turning the blind eye to these dangerous addictions and actions. "Hi, I'm a drug addict." "Oh yeah?! Here, have some drugs!" Who does that? There is a fine line of sharing and having fun with our beautiful purchases, and the oh so common "enabling" and encouraging peer pressure of others to purchase as well. I've always been so impressed and proud of every time someone comments, "I'm saving up until I can fit that purchase in the budget..." or like comments. I just want to scream, "Awesome!! GOOD JOB!! Keep up the self-control!" Lol. Now, I do not in ANY WAY put any blame on anyone!!! No one else was at fault for my actions but me. No one else is at blame for anyone else's problems but them. I am in no way suggesting that we stop sharing, or stop giving feedback, or stop shopping or ignore the beautiful fabrics and products out there. It would be ridiculous to even think that fabric companies should stop producing fabric, or there should stop being sales and products for sale. We can't change the world we live in. Marketing is a factor in life, selling is what makes people's lively hood, including mine. We can't change that, and I don't think we should. Spending is what keeps the economy going, and we do need that! But we need to be smart in doing it.  If people can afford it, if they want it, by all means buy it. Support small businesses, make beautiful things. Buy all of my patterns all the time. ;) lol. It can be fun and be enjoyable, when it's not out of control.


What I do feel needs to change is the way we approach it, and the way we interact with others. We can and should change our own attitudes and actions. We can't be responsible for others actions, but we can be supportive.


I didn't receive help when I should have. If you need help, please seek it! I have made so much progress in the last year. My urges and triggers are very much a thing of the past. I still buy fabric, but compared to before, it's definitely more in control, planned, and realistic. Buying fabric is not a bad thing. The lack of self-control is. I know I'm not cured, but it's not such a scary thing. I wasn't there this last Sunday, but my husband said at church they talked about addictions. Someone commented that addictions can get to the point that you become addicted to the adrenalin rush that comes with whatever action you are addicted to; it gets your heart racing, and it's a "high". I believe it. After hearing that, I realize that is what I am currently facing. Breaking the addiction of the "high" I get from buying something, from receiving something in the mail. It is there and it is real. I also notice the "high" that comes from being financially stressed out! Stress is adrenalin. We get to a good point financially and I don't feel that financial burden and it's like I get bored. "Where is my rush of excitement. I need to spend all our money! Savings is boring!" I am learning how exciting it is to have a lot of savings! Super nerdy excitement. :) The best kind of excitement. Though sometimes I still want to be a rebel.

Anyway, my guard is up and I continue to watch it and work on it. Through the grace and mercy of God he has strengthened my weaknesses.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27
 AMEN! ;) teehee.

There is HOPE!! Things that helped me on my journey:
  • UNSUBSCRIBE from all your mailing lists that have coupons, sales, announce new fabrics, try to sell you anything, have deals, etc. Don't receive them, don't open them. If you don't have the self-control, you have to get rid of those!! Now I'm at a point that I get a few. But ONLY because they don't trigger me anymore! The coupons are now beneficial and not dangerous (thinking I have to take advantage of the sale. Now they are a way to save on what I'm going to buy anyway.) If there are certain blogs or people on IG that trigger you, don't follow them. You have to disconnect from any and every trigger.
  • Find another way to fill that emotional need! I've heard that people who are trying to quite smoking eat licorice. I think it helps them curb the tabacco addiction, while still satisfying that physical motion. Which they can then work on later. ? I don't know exactly. Start eating. lol. don't do that either. Start exercising, grow a garden. If you are depressed take care of plants, house plants, a garden, whatever! That is an excellent activity that has so many beneficial effects. (I have an idea below of another way to fill this need!!!! Please be sure to read it!)
  • Turning to God. YOU NEED GOD's HELP! Prayer, pleading for help. Like the scripture says above, recognizing my weakness and relying on our Savior. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows exactly how to help us!! Sometimes that help includes the help of those around us. Ask Him, and He will tell you how to get the help you need. He more than anyone wants us to be well - emotionally as well as financially. (Yep! He cares about our finances. Here's a great resource.) Also in this category, read the scriptures - they have so much power. I love this quote (it is SO true! I can tell you lots of personal stories...),
"...the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior." Boyd K. Packer, Washed Clean, April 1997 - an AMAZING address with beautiful insight that goes so well with my experience and my healing.
  • If you go "shopping" online. Before you click buy, walk away and don't come back for at least a day, or a week. ;) If you don't need it, close it. But don't buy in the moment. If it's not there when you get back, you won't be any worse for it. One of the traps I would fall into, "what if I miss out on it?!" well then, so what?! Fabric designers are getting more numerous and more talented by the minute. In 20 years when I don't have to worry about feeding my children anymore, I can buy beautiful fabrics then just as I easily can now. :)
  • Get help! Join a support group. Find friends that you can talk to, vent to, receive encouragement from. See a specialist and get professional help if needed! Do it. There is no shame in that. I go to the doctor when I'm sick, why not go to the doctor when my mind is sick too?! What a silly world we live in to think there is something wrong with that.
  • Probably should have put this at the top: RECOGNIZE! don't be in denial. And don't be ashamed! It feels SO good to share. I'm not saying everyone should come out and tell the world, because there is definitely a time and place for everything, and for some it can be more damaging to let certain people know than helpful. If you don't have anyone to tell, send me an email and tell me! :) I'll support you! I totally believe that being able to share your problems and not hold them in creates SO MUCH MORE ROOM for healing!


 Ok, anyway, maybe you don't need help or ideas. But I'd rather put it out there than not! I love suggestions and advice! And thanks to everyone who has shared with me!! I think another big realization that has helped me, is that "it won't give me the happiness I am looking for." I was told the other day, "stop seeking for vain love." Well, fabric is vain love. And boy do we love it! :D



 Awesome idea!!! or not...

So, here's a thing that I thought of that might be helpful!! One friend mentioned that she loves the excitement and joy that comes from receiving mail!!! OOOH!!! #happymail!! Yes please. It instantly made me think of pen pals. :) I saw a few ideas of pen pal groups that are already going on. But I think for the purpose and the goal of retraining our thoughts and actions, I would set it up a little differently. I'll explain my ideas, and if anyone is interested, I'll get it organized and finish up the details. So let me know what you think and if you're interested. Even if it's just a few people, I think it would be fun. and hopefully most of all, helpful!


The group would be a
"Nothing Allowed Pen Pals" group. 

That's right! Nothing is allowed! No crafty things, no handmade items, no treats, no elaborate packages, NO SPENDING MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness. I don't have time to make everyone a super sweet item. I don't have money to buy every goody and cool pen or paper or chapstick in the store. Yes, they are good and fun for swaps and I love them. But if we are going to break habits of spending, and stop the excuses for spending, and retrain our actions and addictions. Then we can't set up a group that requires you to go out and buy stuff, and spend $6+ for postage per package - which add up quickly.

What is allowed:
  • a card
  • a note
  • your favorite quote
  • an encouraging word
  • a picture
  • a doodle (by you! or someone else)
  • imperfect creativity (yep, even crappy doodles are encouraged!)
  • love
  • support
  • #happymail hashtag
  • a story
  • maybe some washi tape -DON'T go buy every spool you see at the store!!
  • use your boring pens and pencils, your 6-year-olds crayons, a highlighter, etc. If you don't own a pen, I'll send you one! I have an entire drawer full!
  • a letter
  • a 49 cents stamp (or however much stamps cost these days).
and that's about it. No more than 49 cents per letter. And just a part of yourself. Something to let someone else know, "someone loves you!" and to give you that excitement of, "I got some mail!!"


I haven't figured out the details. I think if we just put everyone's addresses together, or made groups. Or if you prefer to keep it private between an even smaller group or just me.

People can keep track of when they've received mail so we can make sure that everyone is receiving something. Or you keep track of who you've sent to and try and be responsible to include everyone. You don't have to send mail every day or every week, but maybe once a month.

Perhaps if someone is struggling and needs a little extra encouragement to keep them from buying, we can have a way that they can let the group know and we can all send them something!

Every time you want to press the "purchase" button in the shopping cart, you can stop and send someone a letter instead. :)


I want to try my hand at making some digital stationary and cards, some cute quotes and pictures. When I get to that, who ever is in the group would totally get free access, if they are interested. I don't want this to be something that gives people a reason to spend money! But it's always nice to have fun cute cards to send! I'd love to contribute in that way! :)



So what do you think? Anyone interested in participating? I know two people liked the idea of pen pals on Instagram. What are your thoughts on what I've outlined above? I am honestly not very good at writing letters, but I could do a quick card, a quote, or something small. So really, nothing would be required. Even if all the mail said was, "I think you're awesome!" or "I loved the quilt you shared on Instagram the other day!" I know I would love it! Can we not set up expectations so no one is disappointed that their letter isn't as cool as someone else's?! And so no one feels like a failure because they didn't send an awesome letter?! And can we not have the expectation of having to respond back to someone when they send us something? I mean, it's so important to write back. But a letter that says "You're special and I don't expect anything in return, no strings attached." is probably what we might need. I love these ideas! :) If you don't want to mail anyone anything, but you need support, that's cool too!! We all need the blessings of giving and loving! :) So often ALWAYS! our problems diminish when we care more about others than ourselves.


******


Ok, done rambling. :) Thanks for reading through if you finished another long blog post. I love you all so much! And I'm so grateful for all your support, encouragement, and kind words!!


And I definitely can't end this without saying THANK YOU to every single buyer and maker/user of any of my patterns, and to everyone who has shared what you have made!! I love it! and not only do I love it, but you have blessed me and my family. Because of your support, you have freed me from myself. Not only have you helped us financially, but also by giving us HOPE! When my "business" really started becoming successful, that also made a big difference in overcoming my addiction. It put an end of buying supplies for projects that were going to be "the solution to our problem", that never actually materialized. Or weren't successful. Thank you for that!


Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! :) 


Xoxo!


Diane

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hi. My name is Diane, and I'm a fabric-addict.

I am breaking away from my Celestial Star QAL posts, just so there is no confusion. I do on occasion blog about other things. ;)

I think a lot of us use that term, fabric-addict, quite loosely. And easily so, there is a lot of amazingly beautiful fabrics out there, and it's easy to want to own it all. But I'm not using that term in jest. I can honestly say that I am, or at one point was, a fabric addict. And I want to share my story and experience, so that if there are others who struggle, or did, or are headed down that road, you can recognize it and know that you are not alone. As well as know that not everyone just buys all the fabric out there because they can. Some of us, and probably more than we realize shouldn't, or actually don't. And realizing that can be a great strength.

But I'm not going to talk about anyone else. I'm going to talk about me. Because I can't speak for anyone else, and I don't know their situation.

It's story time, go get your comfy clothes on, find a comfy chair, and maybe some cookies and a drink.

For me it all started when I opened up my Etsy shop. My oldest was about 8 months old, so about five and a half years ago. I made toys and games for kids, and decided to make and sell quite books (which didn't happen. But that's another story. I will say that I struggled with my Etsy shop for a few years, and had good times too. But it wasn't substantially profitable.) I made my first online fabric purchase at fabric.com. It was awesome! I bought some amazing prints for super cheap! I didn't know how awesome they were until years later, all I did was shop the last chance sale section. And later when I started learning all the big name designers, I'd find one of their prints in my stash, and I'd think, wow! I'm so cool for having this print!! Lol.

Anyway, as time went on, I thought of more projects I could make, and I'd buy more fabric. My husband was working on his masters degree while working full time, and I had big dreams of working hard, coming up with amazing ideas and making lots of money! Well, I'm a big dreamer, and while I like to work hard, my ideas came faster than I could make them, as they still do, and a lot of my ideas I realized were not things I wanted to do. By this point I had bought a lot of sale fabrics from fabric.com. Not all of which was awesome, but I was excited to have a good sized stash to work with.

During this time, I had a second baby, then became pregnant with my third. While I was pregnant with her, I found the online world of modern bloggers, as well as the awesome community that was once on Flickr. This was about two and a half years ago, so three years later. Well, I just new I was having a girl! And I had found the cutest quilt made from Heather Baileys Nicey Jane, and I knew that had to be the fabric for my daughters quilt. So I bought my very first fat quarter bundle! What a day! I was elated. It was so pretty!! I couldn't wait to use it. Side note, it did make a beautiful quilt!! That I finished a year ago in November. Lol. Two years after I started it. ;)

Well, this is where it started going down hill. Doing something once makes doing the same thing a LOT easier to do again. I had found a website that would have a daily deal, and they sold scrapbooking supplies (which I don't scrapbook, but love stamps and paper and all that stuff), and then started a site for fabric and yarn. And I'll tell you, they had awesome deals on fabric!! And I will tell you, I probably kept her in business. Probably not, but I was a regular customer. I now hate those type of sites. And I don't like to use the word hate. They are awesome for a great deal, and a great deal can be a huge blessing. But let me explain my perspective,  when there are limited quantities of something, and on some of these sites there is even a time frame that you have to make your purchase in. And add in that a lot of people are watching the site for new product posts, it almost becomes a race to see who can buy it first. Or, "what if don't buy it and I regret it later, and then have to pay twice this price", "I can't pass up that deal!", "I love that product! And at that price, it won't hurt anything.", "If i wait and think about it, it might be gone, so i just have to buy it now", or the classic, "if everyone else is buying it it must be awesome! So I have to have it too!" Even when you don't like it, or you don't want it, or need it, or don't even have the money for it. You buy it anyway. Those sites, I'm sure have good intentions, but it's the nature of the game, a tool to pull you in and make you feel a need and a desire to buy. And I feel it's deceiving and for the weak, it's a trap that can ruin ones life.

Anyway, it pulled me in and I was hook line and sinker. But not only did I buy fabric from that site, I'd go buy from fabric.com, and maybe a few other sites. There weren't as many online then. The UPS man and I were pretty good friends.  The worst part, I would watch all day waiting for him, hoping and crossing my fingers that he would come before my husband got home from work. I would hurry and stash the big box in the laundry room, or hide the fabric somewhere. Some how my stash kept magically growing. My husband was in school, we didn't have a lot of money, life was very stressful, and I was afraid to tell him. Growing up poor but with a rich dad, i was terrified to talk about money. I don't know why. I hated the subject. Anyway, not only was I overspending our budget, I was being dishonest with my husband. I don't care what it's about, don't keep secrets from your spouse!!!!! It's wrong!!

At this point, my over-spending, my addiction to buy, my secrets, they really started to effect me physically. A few months after I had my girl, I got really really sick. I would have intense anxiety attacks, I would get faint and weak and start to black out. Once it happened in the car while I was driving. I pulled into a parking lot and sat there with all my kids until I felt like I could safely make it home. Then once at walmart while I was with my the kids, I got really sick again. I was shaky and panicking and thought I was going to blackout. I waited by the dressing rooms until my mom could come take us home. Well, that time I went to the doctor. After a few months it was diagnosed as post partum thyroiditis. I didn't drive a car for three months. Luckily my mom lived two doors away and she could come over almost daily and watch my kids while I had anxiety attacks on the couch, or tried to recover from blacking out. I was a physical emotional mess. Now I might have really had post partum thyroiditis, but in the end, it was never proven, and I really don't know.

That started in August, and I think in January I was starting to feel better. During these months I started drawing a connection, evey time I tried to by anything at all, I would start to get anxiety. I would start to get physically sick, even if I was just buying bananas.  I realized that my addiction of buying things, including fabric, which I will admit had become my drug, because I was super miserable in my marriage at the time, and in life, and it became my drug. It made me feel "better". In reality it was making me sick. And I hated it! I hated that feeling, and it finally got to the point where it started to curb me from that addiction. And I got better.

Then I started selling patterns, and that was awesome, and a few years later, it's become a dream come true and a road to greater blessings! But I'm not done with my story yet.

We moved to Iowa, three and a half years after the beginning of all this, which was awesome. I loved it, and it brought with it a whole new set of problems, but also blessings. My marriage started improving, I loved my kids and they were improving and starting school, which we loved the schools there, good friends etc. Lots of good things. But I would still struggle.

For a few months I made some really large fabric purchases. I got sucked into a different trap. I now knew the big name fabric designers, and there were a lot of amazing fabric lines coming out, and no one ever reprinted any of their lines!! So it was this "buy it or lose it, or pay outrageous prices later" type thing. And I wanted the best fabrics. Well, I started having anxiety again. And it was really scary this time. My husband worked twenty miles away, the hospital looked like it was a hundred years old, and I was all alone in this small town in the middle of no where. And I was pregnant again. So one night I had the worst panic attack ever. God was going to take me from this earth if I didn't finally come clean with my husband and tell him everything. So I did. I bawled at him in the middle of the night while he was half asleep. I don't know what he got out of my crying, but he did understand at least some of it. And he understood how much I had probably spent over the years. And he didn't even get mad at me. He wasn't happy, but he didn't kill me, and neither did God.

That was the beginning of my healing, and my recovery. I still messed up, still bought fabric sometimes. But I became open with my husband about when I was struggling. I would tell him when I messed up and bought something. He became my support, instead of being afraid to tell him. He still hated it when I would mess up, but he would always forgive me!! It is SO important to have someone there to support you, and to be understanding and caring, and love you back to doing the right thing.

Now back to the pattern thing. As I started creating and selling patterns, I felt like I finally found my niche, a way I could help our income and circumstances. It also became so important to me to "pay back" everything I had spent. I had to reconcile my wrong. I think it was the beginning of this year that I finally made it to the black!!! Wahoo! It took a long time, but I felt good being even. And now instead of feeling like I was correcting my wrongs, I could feel like I was helping out. What an amazing feeling!! And it truly became a great blessing!!

Our six months in Florida was one of the greatest challenges I've ever had!! But also a huge blessing!! And exactly what we needed to become who we need to be, and who we are still striving to become. Feeling more in control of my spending, and with my patterns being more successful, I felt like I had the freedom to make business purchases, instead of fabric addict purchases. It's become a different dynamic, and it's been so much healthier and happier, and a much more peaceful feeling. And I will tell you, as I have been doing better with my spending and being honest with my husband, my health issues have been minimal and most. I know the two were connected.

So now here we are at today. Why am I telling you all of this? Although I have made huge strides. It's not over. Although our circumstances are better, we still have debt and student loans. We don't own a home, we aren't where we would like to be. And it. Is. Stressful!! At least to me. Financial stress has been one of the hardest burdens for me to bear. And before, I medicated by buying stuff. Stupidest prescription ever!! It's like giving someone with diarrhea a handful of laxatives. Sorry for the disgusting imagery. But that's exactly what it is. Disgusting. Why do we do it? I know I'm not alone in the shopping self medicated treatment. I'm not the only woman on earth, so I know I'm not the only one that struggles with that. ;) but anyway, about a month ago I felt like I finally woke up to our situation and, while it's not horrible, and we're better off that a lot of people, it has become a burden that is too heavy for me to bear. Last week, I felt like someone threw a flame to this pile of wood, and now it's on fire. I feel like I am back to square one with all my struggles. I just want to buy everything I see!! I made some business purchases to try and relieve some of the pressure, but still. It's not easy. It's not easy being stressed and burdened.

As I thought about it tonight, my current struggles, my story in the past, I thought about anyone else that is out there in the same situation. Who might feel alone, burdened, buried under a mountain of fabric and "hiding" what one really spent. I can tell you what, all those fabric shops can probably point out exactly who each one of us are, and I will be forever grateful that they don't announce my purchases!! ;) lol.

Have you noticed that I never post when I bought new fabric? Like on IG. I think it's fun to see what people buy, and I like to drool over pretty fabric. But for me, it is a real struggle to see that. If I see a lot of it, and especially when a lot of pretty collections are released all at once, it becomes a war to not dive right into a spending spree. And my heart goes out to others in that same boat. I'm not asking anyone to stop sharing, I'm not asking anything of anyone. My situation is no ones fault but my own. I own it. I take full responsibility for my own actions. But I also want to be supportive of others and not add to their own struggles, whatever they may be. I think once I wrote that I felt like a kid staring out the window, watching all the other kids play, and get ice cream from the ice cream truck, and all those favorite fun kid things. But I couldn't go out and play. And that is a hard thing for a kid. And can be a hard thing for us adults too.

The biggest strength I have found to overcome is the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I am still learning the full potential of prayer, and will probably never reach it, but I hope to get close. Prayer is powerful. The scriptures strengthen me everyday. Repentance, and making up my mistakes has been huge!! And most of all, having relationships built on trust and honesty. That has been the major key in all of this. Being able to be honest with my husband has kept me on track most of all!! And I'll add, honest with myself, and with God. And honest with my budget and finances - stay within your means.

I was recently told that I push people away, and it's true. Probably for most of my life I have. Pushed away their love, support, and help. I pushed away my husband for years as I dealt with my struggle alone. I was also told to STOP IT! STOP pushing people away. So in my efforts to let people in, I'm sharing my inner struggles right here on my blog. And I'm not afraid. Judge, criticize, agree, support, be annoyed, whatever. I am opening up my tender heart and letting you see my struggling imperfect self. Because how in the world can I ever let anyone in my life in, if I am not even honest with myself about who I am. I will probably be mortified if I find out that real people who I know if real life read this, but whatever. I guess it's all or nothing. ;)

Thanks for being patient, or not patient, with my long rambling post. I'd love to hear your comments if you have anything, experiences, helps, whatever to add. I guess another thing that has really helped is just to have the right perspective. Get rid of all the lies and misconceptions that the marketing world tries to throw at us and make us believe. That is where scriptures and prayer have really helped, to reveal the truths from the lies, and uncover all those wrong train-of-thoughts.

Alright, that's it now. Happy reading and happy sewing!!

Diane

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sponsor Introduction: I don't do dishes

Celestial Star QAL with from blank pages...


I am so happy to introduce you to Caitlin, of I Don't Do Dishes.


I'm not sure how, or when we first *met* but thanks to Instagram, we've been able to get to know each other better. Caitlin has an amazing shop, with fabulous service, a beautiful selection of fabrics, patterns, and notions. Her IG feed is chuck full of amazing projects!!!! You should definitely go follow her (@idontdodishes) and check out her shop too. :) I'm so excited and grateful that she is one of the sponsors for the Celestial Star QAL! Read below to see the amazing prizes she is offering. Here's a little about Caitlin:

Owner, Caitlin McIntyre, has always had a passion for sewing, having learned the skill from her mother at a young age. She loves making her own bags, purses, and dresses for her three daughters. Caitlin started quilting in 2010 and currently serves as a member of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild and the Eudora Quilting Bees.

After many years of being a stay-at-home-mom, and fueled by an intense love of fabric and sewing, Caitlin decided to turn her passion into a business. I Don't Do Dishes has been operating online since 2012, and recently expanded to include a storefront in downtown De Soto, KS, where Caitlin now offers classes for sewing enthusiasts of all skill levels.

I Don't Do Dishes Sewing Studio provides stitchers with a wide variety of the industry's finest fabrics, sewing notions, and quilting supplies, along with a friendly shop atmosphere where creativity is contagious, learning is fun, and friendships are blossoming every day!

She has been so generous in offering amazing prizes! 

Starting next week, you can enter pictures of your quilting on your Celestial Star Projects, for a chance to win:

1 - 9 piece FQ bundle of Up Parasol by Heather Bailey
your choice of color palette
(YUM!) Come back next Wednesday for more details


For the final link up she is offering a few prizes:

Just for linking up a finished project, you are entered to win:

 
a Birch by Joel Dewberry Charm Pack


And as a joint prize for one lucky winner who makes a project(s) of 5 or more blocks:

a $50 Gift Certificate to her shop!

I love the freedom of gift certificates to purchase just what you want! ;)



Thank you Caitlin!!! 
It's a joy and a pleasure to have you join us!! and Thanks for all the great prizes!


You can view all the sponsors and all the prizes by visiting this post.



Happy QALing! :)
I'm off to go sew before the baby wakes up! 
I'm so happy that he's started sleeping in again. ;)


Diane

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