Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kindred Spirits ... Super Moms

I have a new cyber friend, a true kindred spirit! Her name is Lyndsay Johnson. You may have heard of her. She's an amazing Graphic Designer and full time mom. In fact, we got acquainted when I asked her to design the Beutler Blog. (Don't you just love our new look!) Anyway, Lyndsay has a really great blog herself and I like to check it out on occasion because she always has something interesting to share. Right now, she's doing a series called "Super Moms" and each week she has one of her friends share tips for staying organized, shopping, cleaning, going Green, etc. Last week, Lyndsay emailed me and asked me if I would write a piece for her Super Mom series. I was a little shocked. I've never considered myself a Super Mom at all! But, I have to admit, I felt honored to be amongst the women who have already been featured. I learned something from each of them!

If you are looking for someone to create a new look for your own blog page, Lyndsay's your girl. You can go to her business blog by clicking on the little button
"Banners by Lyndsay" on the bottom right hand side of Beutler Life. Check her out, you will be glad that you did. And, just in case you are wondering .... here's what I wrote for her Super Mom series......

Can I just say how honored I am to do a little piece for Lyndsay's Super Mom series. I've never considered myself a Super Mom in any way, shape or form. I look at everyone else and think: “How do they do all that??” But, after I thought about it, I guess I am a Super Mom. I'm super busy – all the time, super tired – all the time, and super fortunate – because I’m the mother of two super kids. There you have it. I accept the title, and the assignment to write.

I guess if there's one thing I've learned in life it's that we are always going to be busy, and there is never going to be enough time to do all the things we dream of doing. Me, I dream of creating. It doesn't matter what – I just need to create. It’s the thing that keeps me going when I’m looking at piles of laundry, and a house scattered with backpacks and shoes. Personally, I think everyone should make time to create, even if what you are creating is a beautiful clean house. It feeds the soul. So here is a little blurb about how I’ve made time for the things I love as I’ve gone through different phases of motherhood.

When my children were really little, it was hard to find time to be creative. They hit the ground running when they woke up (at 5:30 a.m) and didn't stop until they fell asleep at 8:00. That meant I had a small amount of time to spend with my husband, and an even smaller amount of time to spend on myself. It was hard. But, I made a plan. Once a month I set aside a Saturday just for me, and sometimes I would include a weeknight. I used the time to take creative classes like sewing, cooking, art, ceramics, print making …. Taking a class forced me out of the house and into a world where I could focus -- where I could make a mess. It also gave me the opportunity to meet other people who inspired me. Most of the women I met were in their 60's and still creating. In fact, they were really good at what they were doing. I remember thinking: “If I stick with this, some day I'm going to be amazing!” I loved those women and I loved those classes. It filled my cup so that I had the energy to deal with the routines in life. And you know something …. I never got amazing at any of those classes, but it didn’t matter. I learned that the joy is in the process!!!!!

When my kids entered elementary school, I thought: "Boy I'm going to have all sorts of time to do stuff for myself." Little did I know that I would spend half of that time at school helping out in the class. Then another problem cropped up. My kids got involved in all sorts of after school activities like dance and soccer. I had huge amounts of time where I was just sitting and waiting. So, I used that time to create. I sat at dance lessons with my big pile of craft supplies, and worked away at whatever I was interested in doing at the moment. I quilted, made books, jewelry, cards, blankets, hats, and get this -- pretty soon it sparked all kinds of conversation. I met tons of women, who said: “Oh, I can’t do that … I’m not creative.” Guess what – they were creative, they just didn’t know it. I taught them how to sew, how to quilt, how to knit. It was so much fun. In fact, the owner of the dance studio asked me if I had ever sewn costumes. I said: "If you count Halloween, then.... yes!" And that answer lead to a job. I became a costume designer/fabricator for the dance competition teams. (Visualize, the costumes you see on "So You Think You Can Dance" times 150). It was the hardest, most stressful thing I've ever done. I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured it out. Boy, did I learn a lot. I took my sewing machine to dance and worked while my kids were in class. I also had to work at night after they had gone to sleep. I was SO TIRED, but it was fun. That job gave me a creative outlet that lasted 5 years. I loved seeing all my creations on stage, and I made enough money to pay for all those dance lessons. I learned that sometimes you have to brave enough to take a chance. You never know where your creative energy will lead you. I learned that sometimes you have to overcome the fear of failure. Look at all those women who learned to be creative!! And … I learned that you can make money doing what you love.

Now, my children are in middle school. I'm no longer sewing, or working in the class, and my kids don't require quite as much attention. I actually have time to do what I love!! So, last year, I was a little stumped. I had no idea what I wanted to do. My niece suggested checking out Etsy. "What is Etsy?" I asked. When she explained it was a cyber store dedicated to "handmade" goods, I got excited. I took a look around Etsy and knew I had found just what I was looking for. I created my own cyber shop -- Crystal B (with nothing in it.) I got out all the "stuff" I had been making, took photos, and listed it in my store. Once that got going, I got all sorts of calls from friends who suggested that I hold quarterly open houses so that they could come and buy directly from me. I also had another creative friend say: “Hey, you should be a vendor at my holiday boutique.” So I did! That is where I'm currently having the most success – open houses. I learned that if you have friends who are willing to open their homes in exchange for merchandise, you may be able to make some great money to support your creative habits.
Now, I dedicate two afternoons a week to making inventory to sell. I treat it like I would treat a job so that I don't give up my creative time in lieu of dentist appointments and other things that seem to creep up on a regular basis.
One last thing, and then I will sign off. I can't say enough about blogging. I have visited many sites of creative women (like Lyndsay!!!!!) who have inspired me in ways that they will never know. I read their words and think: "That is one amazing woman!! If she can do it, so can I."
Thank you all you crafting women who blog. It's nice having a world of kindred spirits out there to keep me motivated as I press forward into the unknown.


Maria said...

Crystal, you are one of the most creative people I know. And I love how you are willing to teach others and share your talents with the world. Great article!

Hily said...

I think you ARE a super mom! I found you via Lyndsay's blog and in my book, you are one of those women who give others like me inspiration so thank YOU! :-)