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Pillows

This week has been crazy busy trying to get ready for the upcoming tourist season, help me husband at work, and help me kids get the things done they need to do as well. So, today’s blog post will be short. One of the things I did this week was make a pillow for a YouTube tutorial. I love making fabric out of my art, and I love creating other things, like quilts and pillow to decorate my home, and to sell at the markets this summer.

But I also want to create things that you can then create at home and infuse your style into, thus the YouTube tutorials. I have made 2 different types of pillows, actually, it’s how they close that is different. One is just a pillow, and then second is a removable pillow cover with an envelope style back. I will be making one more pillow probably at the beginning of next week, that will have a zipper closure, and be a little bit more complex as far as the piecing on the quilt. But it still won’t be a difficult pillow to make.

So, the 2 that I have made are here, and you can find the tutorial on my YouTube channel, the link is on the home page of my website, or you can click on the pictures to link you directly to that particular video.

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Ending

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I am so excited, there is only 2 1/2 weeks of Seminary to teach this school year, and only 3 1/2 weeks left of school here in our school district. I cannot believe how time flies. I absolutely love teaching Seminary, however, not having to wake up at 5:30 in the morning is going to be great! At least for several months. This has gotten me thinking about endings. This end of the school year is fast approaching, but there are so many great things, new things ahead. But the ending isn’t here yet.

I think often, at least in my life, I tend to see the end coming and want to just speed it up. I am ready for the new beginning, the next thing coming. But as my kids have gotten older and started to leave home, things are ending that I don’t want to end. I love having my kids home and being able to watch them grow and learn and become, but some are gone already, and the rest will be leaving sooner than I would like to think about. This past Sunday I went to a missionary farewell of one of my daughter’s best friends. She will be leaving this week to go to England for 18 months. She said that she often wished life would hurry up, but one day her grandma said something to the effect of, “don’t wish my life away.” And I thought, “wow, how often do I do that?” Rushing through my life just to get to the next beginning, never really living in the moment I have now. Have you ever been around someone who you are trying to talk to or complete an assignment with, and they are so distracted by what’s coming next that they never really listen to you, or they are never really present in the activity that you are supposed to be doing or enjoying together?

Being present, in the present is such a hard thing to do sometimes. We definitely need to look ahead and make plans for the future. We do need to be working toward those plans and aspirations, and we do need to check in regularly to make sure we are still going the direction we need to be going. But all the work in getting where we want to be, happens in the now, the present. All the memories we make happen in the present, not in the future. If we don’t stop and make those memories, we won’t have anything to look back on later, and we won’t have anything that motivates us to keep going into the future.

I am grateful for the cousel from this wise grandma. I am grateful that I have these next 2 1/2 weeks to wake up early and spend an hour with some of the most fantastic youth on this planet, even if some of them sleep through my lesson! I am grateful that I have today to spend with my family and that I have 2 times during the week when I have the opportunity to talk to my daughter on her mission. Today I am going to strive to be present with the people I come in contact with, and especially with my family. What will you do today to be more present?

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Compassion

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Today as I was sitting in Church preparing to take the Sacrament, I started to think about how imperfect I am, how I fail quite regularly, and how I have not always lived my life in a way that I would be proud of. But as I was sitting there, pondering on my failings, praying that I might be better and do better as I go along, Heavenly Father redirect me thoughts. I started to look around and see people, families, individuals, people I know well, people I don’t hardly know at all.

I think Heavenly Father helps me see, once in a while when I am actually listening, other people. Not what they have done in their lives, but see people, as His children, as my brothers and sisters. He helped me to see that just as I was pondering upon my failings, my weaknesses, my mistakes in life, so too were all of these people, because none of us are perfect. I started to wonder and watch those around me. I have no idea the personal struggles of each individual person. Some may struggle with an addiction of some sort. Some may have a sickness that they keep to themselves. Some are there as a last resort, looking for relief from burdens or trials. Some are there because they are made to be there, and are hoping to find one last evidence, one final reason to stay rather than turn their backs.

I love the family that my Church and community provides, and as I sat and pondered, I saw these wonderful people and felt more strongly than ever, that they are each my brothers and sisters. They are each important to me, and to our Heavenly Father, they are each a beloved son or daughter. I know this with all my heart, but sometimes the Lord reminds me more extensively to help me remember again.

I remember the first time I really felt this lesson with every fiber of my being. I was working at a pharmacy in Wasilla. At the time I was 7 or 8 months pregnant with my first child. We had such a huge variety of people that came through that pharmacy on a daily basis, and I mainly ran the cash register and computers up front, dealing with the customers every day. The building where the pharmacy was, was a very large building housing a variety of doctors’ offices as well as the pharmacy. We were right next to the main doors so we could see the people who came and went, whether to the pharmacy or the other businesses located there.

As I was watching people come in one day, I noticed a man walking in the door. He was a tall man, very dirty from head to toe. He had on very grubby torn clothing. It was pretty evident that he was probably homeless. As I saw him walking in, I thought to myself, “I sure hope he doesn’t come in here!” At that very moment the Holy Ghost whispered a message from my Heavenly Father, “He is my child and I love him.” This is something I have always known, that we are each children of our Heavenly Father, but this simple message shook me. I could not believe how easily I had judged this man. I had never met him, I didn’t know him, but I had judged. He did come in to the pharmacy that day. He was a kind, happy man. Very gracious to me and everyone he talked with. I learned a very important lesson that day.

I am still a judgmental person on occasion, but that was the beginning of my eyes being truly opened to others as my brothers and sisters, to others who have difficulties, to others who are trying their best from day to day, to everyone around me. Today as I sat and pondered, I knew there were people in the room who probably struggled with addictions of some kind, whether mental or physical. There were moms there who barely made it to Church because they knew that’s where they needed to be, but it took everything they had just to get there. There were people grieving, people hurting, people at wits end, everyone needing relief of some kind, including me. As I sat through the rest of our Sacrament meeting, I asked Heavenly Father to help me see individuals, to see actual people, brothers and sisters, and in seeing, to have compassion, to have a willingness to help, to try and lighten someone else’s burden. I think when we truly see others, knowing their struggles might be different, but they are struggling just the same as we all do sometimes, that we can be more compassionate, we can be more kind, we can be more helpful. That is my goal this week.

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Packaging

Packaging is my least favorite part of my business. I have to package prints, cards and fabric. This is by far the most time-consuming thing that I do, but if I do it right, it makes everything look great, and much more professional. Today was a fabric packaging day, and a printing day for prints for gift shops ahead of the tourist season. I don’t have enough packaging however, so I am waiting on the things I need for the prints.

I have learned a few things over the years about packaging different types of art items. First, people really like to see the majority of whatever the item is when it comes to art, because everyone views art differently. Prints obviously can’t be folded, but fabric can be. I have found out however, it is best not to fold it through the main portion of the image. Consequently, the packaging is big enough for the larger fabric panels to be mostly showing, and I have smaller clear bags for the smaller images.

Clear plastic bags that are acid free and have a seal at one end are my favorite. This speeds up the process. Some of the bags for my cards don’t have a seal and I have to tape them down. This adds to the cost as well as the time involved in packaging. Acid free is important for some of the items I sell, like the prints and fabric, not as important for others, like the note cards, but I tend to pick acid free for everything just so I don’t have to worry about it.

Accounting for the cost of the packaging is something I never used to do. I figured it would all just work out in the end. However, over the years as the cost of packaging has added up, I realized I need to add a little bit at least, because, even if it is pretty inexpensive, it’s not free. It amazes me how quickly even the smallest things add up in a business. The other thing I like about the clear plastic, is that it’s easy to mark with a price that won’t mar the picture, and it’s easy to remove when the prices change or when I frame something and reuse the packaging for something else. People like to see prices. When they come and look at an item, most people don’t like to ask how much it is. If they have to ask, they usually don’t buy.

So, those are a few things that I have learned about packaging my products. Obviously, every business is different, but packaging really does make a difference in the final presentation. Poor packaging will turn away customers, while minimal, clean and clear packaging draws people in to look closer.

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Moment

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Today my husband needed help. We have been working on replacing metal on a roof that requires our forklift and several of us to work. I have been at work with him while he works on this roof for a week and a half. Some days I get very frustrated, I think about all the things I need to get done for my business, the house that isn’t cleaning itself, and dinner that still has to be made once we get home. Everything takes time. As we were proceeding along today, it was evident that he didn’t have enough tar paper to finish the last little bit of roof, and that he was probably going to run out of staples as well. He needed to run to Wasilla to get supplies, which meant I had about an hour at home to work on the things that I needed to get done.

I came home and jumped right into getting things done. My husband needed me to make an invoice for the person we are working for. I then proceeded to start cleaning up a few remaining items in the entryway, then moved on to the kitchen. The saltshaker was empty, and as I started to fill it, I had the thought, “Is this really the best use of my time?” I thought that if I filled it later it would be better, but as I was filling and pondering, I thought about how regardless, this was going to take a certain amount of my, or someone else’s time to fill. I then continued on and finished the few tasks that I thought I could get done while waiting for my husband to call and say he was on his way home, and we needed to head to the job again soon. I ended up with a little extra time, if you can call it that, to get my blog post done, or at least started.

All of this has gotten me thinking about the moments in life, the moments everyday where we choose the path we will take, should I fill the saltshaker or sweep the floor, which is most pressing? Should I agree to go with my husband to work or should I stay home and work on my own business? There are so many paths that are possible to take, so many things we could be doing, and so much that, in all honesty, will never be accomplished in our lifetimes, because there are just so many possibilities. So how do we decide? I think a lot of it depend upon our priorities. I have talked about priorities before, and I have listed mine, or at least the biggest ones in a previous blog post. You can read about that here. I also wrote a book about how priorities, goals and habits all coincide with one another. You can purchase this book here: Becoming You: A simple guide to setting goals and accomplishing great things. So, how did I decide? One of my biggest priorities is my relationship with my husband. That is more important than my business. His business is also up and running and brings in the majority of our income, so when he needs help, that usually takes priority over my business.

But today as I thought about the reasons why, I realized that one of the biggest reasons is that I love spending time with him. We have a unique lifestyle in that he is self-employed, and I am trying to be such, which is super time consuming in a lot of respects and means that we aren’t always home together even when we are, but we also have the flexibility to shuffle schedules. I may get behind a little bit, but I can catch up. And over the years I have learned that, while making money is important, it is not the most important part of our lives, it’s the relationships we develop over time and by being consistently willing to spend the time, even if that means going to work together. Moments are all we really have, and in the end, the way we spend those moments will have the greatest impact on who we have become and what kind of legacy we leave behind for the rising generations. I will probably never be able to leave my children large sums of money, I will probably never be remembered by the masses. But if my children remember that I loved them, and I loved their dad, my husband and best friend, and that I would do anything for any one of them. If they remember that they were the most important thing in my life, next only to my relationship with God, and that including postponing my work when I can, I will be there to help them out and be there for them, well then, I have spent my moments in time wisely.