A few years ago I was talking with my friend Martha. She lives in Indianapolis. During our conversation I happen to mention.... I was much happier when I had no customers and had very little money. Don't get me wrong, I really like all my customers. I was remembering the time before I had customers. The time when I had no quilting income and a lot less stress in my life.
Not long after that I was type-talking with my friend Kathi. Kathi is my long time internet friend. I happened to mention..... I was so much happier when money was so tight I had to be very creative to clothe and feed us. That's when the thought of giving up my income as a machine quilter really started to take hold of me.
In the time before I had customers, I had to be very creative in order to survive. I created my own patterns and sewed clothes or other things we needed. I made cardboard furniture and found object art to decorate my home. I cooked creative meals based on what I could find in discount bins or what I got from the food bank. In other words, I had fun because I was creating everyday. Being creative is happiness for me.
A few weeks later I was looking through some older photos when I came across these. This is my DIL and two grandsons.
This is my son standing at the window.
This is when Ladybug was just learning to walk. It's taken at my daughter's apartment before she got a house. My daughter is getting her hair done by the sister who works at a hair salon.
This is another sister with her daughter.
Did you notice how my DIL and son are standing and not sitting? That's because it was the only room of my house with chairs. Only two chairs. The rest of the house was filled with STUFF. I went to my daughter's apartment that day because there wasn't any place at my house for company to sit.
I have a another son and his family living right here in Kentucky but none of the grand kids or the DIL have ever been to my house. I've been to their house but not the other way around. I have grand kids living in Alaska. Only one of those grand kids has ever been to my house. He slept in my bed and I slept on the floor when he was here visiting because there is no bed for company to sleep on.
If I were to cook a big holiday meal for lots of company, they'd have to eat at the intake table standing up. I ask myself some really difficult questions after looking at the photos. Why is it that no one is setting down? Why have I let my life get to this point? Where did my life go? Why have I surrounded myself with STUFF when I'd rather be surrounded by kids and grand kids?
I drove them all away by surrounding myself with stuff. I neglected what really should have mattered in my life; all for the sake of being a really good professional machine quilter. It wasn't my customers fault, it was mine. I became a workaholic. While being a really good business person, I let my kids and grand kids.... my life..... slip away from me. That's when I decided to take this backward journey to my life before. It's too late to get back what I've lost; but, I can surely simplify my life. If I can tell my story, and in doing so, prevent just one single person from making the same mistakes I did, then the story is worth telling.
True, not every person going into or already in the business of machine quilting will go to the extremes I did. Definitely, most have much more sense about it than me. Still, I read whats talked about by other machine quilters and I can see small glimpses of what happened to me starting to happen to them. I read about the over booking because it's hard to say no to a customer or turn down the extra money. I see some machine quilters talking about the need to figure out which quilts must be finished by Christmas and what can be left until after. I see where machine quilters are running two machines and still aren't ahead of the tops waiting. These could be just fleeting times of holiday rush stress or it could be warning signs of what could happen.
Now that I've started my backward journey, my goal is to clear the clutter from my house. I'm talking about quilting stuff in every room except the one room where it should be located... the studio. I'm talking about the need to clear up the rest of the clutter blocking the path to a people friendly home. That means other craft stuff and food storage stuff too. I'm clearing out anything that gets in the way of me having a people friendly home again.
To be continued....