Interested to hear more about my creative journey and how I "attempt" to balance things? Pop on over to the Stash Podcast to listen to my conversation with Sonia! I seriously had so much fun chatting with her and I hope you'll all enjoy it too!Read More
Remember how much we all loved coloring books as kids? I was known to spend hour after hour coloring my little heart out happily and quietly. And now as a mother myself, I happily watch my kiddos embrace their love for coloring. But what about us mom/dads who still love to color? I know I still color with my kiddos regularly but I have to admit, I'm getting pretty darn tired of coloring Barbie and My Little Pony. There are only so many times an adult can color a kids colouring book until we start to get fed up.Read More
MAKING OURSELVES is our monthly series focused on finding and creating more time to nurture and prioritize ourselves, our passions, hobbies & health. You can read all the posts HERE.
This month I'm chatting about how a recent back injury led me on my journey to meditation and how I'm finding a new calm in both my personal and work life.Read More
When starting to write + plan the new series "Making Ourselves" for the blog I quickly realized how long it has really and truly been since I had prioritized some of my other hobbies and passions in life. I decided that it was time to carve out some special moments each week to allow myself a few indulgences.Read More
This year is all about changes and the search for BALANCE.
I find that sitting down at the start of each year and writing out some of my thoughts, goals, dreams etc for the upcoming year helps me to solidify my plans, keep me motivated in achieving them and also connecting with all of you.
"Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it."
This year I want to focus on the word BALANCE as much as possible. I keep promising myself I will work on it, practice it and live it but it just hasn't been successful. So this year I'm taking a different approach and holding myself accountable and putting it onto the blog. I'm going for it. I'm all in my friends. It's time to take back a bit of control over my life and to start to put some more effort/time back into "making" me a better version of myself.
I'll be using the hashtag #makingourselves (I explain this later on in the post) on instagram & twitter if you want to join in and also follow along with my journey.
BALANCE /// GOAL #1 - My Health
I've had health issues since I was in my twenties.
Long story short I've suffered from severe endometriosis (several surgeries and complications) and back issues. I'm tired of feeling not well and continually getting sick. My immune system is just shot. So I'm taking control of my body back this year. I'm putting my health and my overall well being ahead of all my other goals this year and so far it's been amazing! I'm hoping to get stronger and healthier and also lose some weight.
My hubby surprised me with a Fitbit for xmas (I got the Charge in case you're interested) and I've been really loving it. It's amazing how such a small gadget can wake you up to your unhealthy habits and motivate you to be so much better. Between seeing how HORRIBLE my sleep habits are (more on this later) and how much better my days are when I reach over my goal of 10,000 steps it sure is motivating.
I paired my Fitbit up with the awesome app My Fitness Pal. These 2 are my best friends. I've been logging my food daily now for over a month and I am really enjoying holding myself accountable. I'm also enjoying the community of friends/family on both the Fitbit and My Fitness Pal to cheer, encourage and have fun with the journey of getting healthy. Do any of you use these? Are you on Fitbit and MyFitnessPal?
I also took a VERY hard and long look at my exercise habits. Walking the kids to school and back (when it's not monsooning out) just isn't cutting it. I realized over the last few years I've tried a few different types of workouts (classes, etc) and nothing stuck. I'm social and love the gym but it doesn't work for our nutso schedule around here. So we bit the bullet and brought the gym to us. We're the proud owners of an Elliptical machine. I know...it sounds so cliche to go buy an elliptical in January but dudes....I so need this. That bad boy is right beside my bed.....I can jump on and do my workout wearing whatever I want and watching Gilmore Girls (or whatever tv show I'm addicted to at the moment). Being able to easily fit it in when I get the chance that day is so easy. I even started rewarding myself. I can't do my night time knitting until I do my workout. And trust me, I love to knit so I will darn sure get my booty on the elliptical.
Getting the elliptical made me realize just how out of shape I really am. I thought I was going to jump on the elliptical and be a pro. LMAO!!!!! Seriously. Embarrassing. I thought I was going to die. I just barely made it through 15mins of the darn thing and almost puked...haha. And I was on level 1!!!!! Then the hubs proceeded to get on and do 30mins at a high level and was fine! How's that for motivation? I thought I was in way better shape than I was. So many muscles I haven't used in so long that are now having to be woken up again. I still can only do about 15mins but I'm working myself up and each time I do it I'm getting stronger and it's getting easier. My goal is 30-40 mins at obviously a better intensity level than 1. But I don't want to injure my back (I have a very bad back) so I have to take it slow and steady and keep on trucking along.
The most hilarious part is when I'm on the elliptical I get a side view of myself in the dresser mirror. I'm telling you...if you feel unmotivated put your elliptical near a mirror from this angle. HORRIFYING! It's like a weird mix of self doubt and motivation mixed in together. I look over and first go..."who is that, is that me? how did I get like this? since when I did I let it go this far? really is that me? are you sure? ok, let's do this. time to get rid of...."that thing" hanging.....darn pregnancy leftovers...time to work our ass off. time to reclaim my health and become strong again....but can I do it? will I fail? I'm tired. It's too hard. I can't do it. I should just give up. but I don't want to. I want to do it. I want to become a better me. Is that really me? how did I get like this?". And it repeats over and over again until I just get on with my workout and accept myself for who I am and make peace with it and enjoy my workout (well as much as one can whilst working out).
Why am I telling you all of this? Because. Because I'm not perfect. Because I spend so much time making throughout my days, everyday. I'm always making and creating and I love every crazy wild moment of it. I love to make things. I love to help you to make things. But the one thing I haven't been working on making that is the most important out of them all is myself. I haven't been making myself. I am important too and I need to continue to work on making me be the best version of myself I can be just as much as I make my knitting/sewing patterns the best they can be.
My priorities need to shift a bit. So while you may not see me blogging like a mad woman, I'm still here. I'm trying to keep the 9 loads of laundry on my bed under control, my dirty bathrooms cleaned, my floor mopped, the kids & hubby happy and fed, finish unpacking my new house, raise two little girls, keep on creating and making, and writing and spending time with all of you. But before most of that I now need to spend some time reflecting and working on myself. I can't wait to look back in 2016 at 2015 and see how far I have come. I can't wait to watch me finally succeed with some of the balance. To get more control over the battle between health, family and work. My family and my health are way too important and I've seen how unbalanced things have become and I know I need to keep on making changes.
Don't worry, I'm not turning Very Shannon into a fitness blog...lol. It will still be the same, I will just be popping in here and there throughout the year and writing some of my thoughts about my journey this year and my goals. I just shared Goal #1 above and I plan on sharing more of my goals as well that all correlate to the word "balance". I encourage you to join in too! I love seeing and hearing about what you're all doing creatively and I strongly feel that we as women are also important as well so fill me in. Write in the comments. Share your thoughts, goals and dreams for this year too. It means so much to me to hear from all of you as well.
Use hashtag #MAKINGOURSELVES to share your journey on social media.
I'd love to see your pics! Whether you are working out, working on a new goal....etc..whatever makes this your year to work on "YOU" feel free to share it with this hashtag. I also made us a fun pinterest board where I'll be pinning inspiring images, posts, sewing patterns for workout gear, workout clothes I love, exercises and more! You can follow along below.
So I'm declaring this year the year of "making ourselves". Get creative with and for YOU. What do you wish you could work on "making" better for YOUR happiness and goals this year? What's unbalanced in your life that you can work on "making" happen? What have you not prioritized enough in the past that you can change this year?
It's been a while since we've done a Books on the Table and I thought it was the perfect time to do another one!
You all know how much of a book lover I am. Sometimes I have way too many fab books to chat about to give them each their own post. When that happens I put together our fun "Books on the Table" post. I've always got new (and old) books everywhere around the house. They are in the dining room, the living room, my bedroom...all over my office...in my purse...they are everywhere. I love reading and relish in sharing books that I am enjoying. I worked for years in book stores and sometimes miss being surrounded by books that fill me with endless possibilities.
Right now, on my table I've got a lovely mix of creative titles! Creativity, embroidery, knitting and socks! Sounds fun right? You bet! Keep reading below and I'll give you the inside scoop on each title. These are all great gift books for that creative maker in your life too! Or, if you're like me, they make lovely "treat yourself" pressies too! One can never have too many fabulous books!
Read below then let me know what books are on your table in the comments! I love hearing what other people are reading too!
/// MAKE IT MIGHTY UGLY
You guys, this book is soooo good. I've been reading and re-reading it. I pick up something new each time. It's a must have for anyone wanting to up their creative game or just learn how to be more creative on a regular basis. Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercise & Advice for Getting Creative Even When it Ain't Pretty by Kim Piper Werker is one of those books that I know I will be reaching for on a regular basis, year and after year. It's informative, funny, helpful and inspiring. I highly recommend it! The illustrations in Make it Mighty Ugly are as equally as fabulous as the book is too. So get reading and get "kick-starting your creativity through inspiring essays, exercises, and tips, plus sage advice from all over the creative spectrum".
///MOLLIE MAKES EMBROIDERY
I don't chat about embroidery much on the blog but I do enjoy it! I usually try to do 1 - 2 projects a year and always have fun. I find myself wishing I had more time to spend on embroidery projects and hope to do that in the next few years as I really get my girls involved in sewing. I think it would be fun to sit down with both of them and all work on embroidery! Mollie Makes Embroidery is filled with adorable stitched projects! There's something in there for everyone! I was really smitten with 2-3 of them and hope to get one made up soon. I really enjoyed the tips & tricks section of this book. Since I don't do embroidery regularly I always need a refresher and I really liked this part of the book. Overall this is a great collection of a variety of projects that is put together in a lovely and inspiring book.
/// GRAPHIC KNITS
I loooooovvvee texture and graphic details in knitwear. I myself design with them in mind and am constantly inspired by them. When I heard Alexis Winslow was releasing Graphic Knits I knew it was a must have for me. Graphic Knits includes 20 designs in bold, beautiful color! There are some awesome projects in here ranging from accessories to garments! Each project is true to Alexis's style and is accompanied by great photos of all the unique details her patterns feature! If you love color, graphic details and fun patterns this is a good book for you.
Oh man, sock knitting is soooo good! I'm always embarrassed in a way to admit that I didn't start knitting socks until about 2 years ago. I know....it's sad but what can I say, they just weren't my thing. But now that I've jumped in I'm fully hooked! I've really been enjoying knitting and wearing handmade socks. Sockupied: 20 Knit Projects to Satisfy your Sock Obsession has been helping me with my own fledgling sock obsession! This wonderful collection of sock patterns edited by Anne Merrow is filled with 20 projects from the popular eMag of the same name. They are specially chosen from the first 10 issues by Anne Morrow. Sockupied has toe up up and top down construction patterns as well as patterns for beginners as well as socks featuring lace, cables and colorwork. If you are a sock knitter you'll enjoy this one!
Ok, now it's your turn! What books are on your table? I'd love to chat and coffee's on!
Enjoy up to 50% off ALL online classes! Take advantage of big savings today. Hurry, offer expires August 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop now and save!
I'm a big fan of Craftsy classes and take them regularly! It's a great way to stop getting stuck wishing you knew how to do something and instead jump in to learn how :)
Above are a few that I think would be awesome for all of our Summer Sweater Knit Along knitters!!!
Happy making and creating! Have you taken a Craftsy class? Which one would you like to take?
*This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own.
|Let's Go Camping Print by Lucy Darling Prints|
The lovely Mel of the podcast - Singlehanded Knits, is the host and organizer of Camp Aloha Friends! She's such a lovely spirit and so much fun! Hers is one of my fave podcasts to knit along with! She's a funny, sweet and oh so awesome! You can find it on her blog here.
When I first heard about Camp Aloha Friends from Mel I knew you guys would love it! I love that Mel really tries as much as I do to get people making new friends. We both also strive to create wonderful and warm communities for our readers! I know some of us have found ourselves living in a town/city where we don't know anyone that is passionate about the same things. It can be hard to break out of your comfort zone and find those people that all share the same passions that you do. So sometimes going online is one of the easiest way to find and interact with these wonderful gals and guys!
My issue is that I find it hard to make it to events and conferences for both knitting and sewing. I'm in Canada and I'm always feeling like I'm missing out on all the fun events/retreats that happen in the US. That's what's great about Camp Aloha Friends - it brings the event to you! You can take the classes, get the supplies and make new friends without even leaving your house! How cool is that!!!!!
|Summer Camping by Valentin Stoev|
Camp Aloha Friends starts on June 15th and will run through till the end of September (you can still access things until the end of October though) and you can sign up and purchase your Camp Suitcase now.
You can choose to be a Day Camper (all access but you provide your own supplies) or a Bunkhouse Boarding Camper (all access with Camp Suitcase & other benefits). Fun right!
// WHAT IT IS
>>> an international assortment of teachers gathered together to teach an intercraftual array of fun!
>>> a special website for you to "camp" for the summer to access if you are enrolled!
>>> activities and crafts that build upon each other that YOU CAN DO.
>>> Knitting, sewing, crochet, tatting, embroidery, paper crafts, yarn dyeing, weaving & creating a loom are just some of the crafts you will do!
Here's Mel herself to tell you more about Camp Aloha Friends!
You can also view a longer version as well here.
// WHAT TO EXPECT
There will be fun activities, classes, chats and more all throughout the camp!
// THE CAMP SUITCASE - WHAT IS IT?
One of the most fun aspects about Camp Aloha Friends is the Camp Suitcase! Mel has handpicked many of the special items you need for your classes at Camp Aloha Friends and will send it direct to you!
I hope you have a great summer filled with creativity and community!
I love cherry blossoms.
It means spring is here with it's blue skies to bask in, sunshine to soak in and new projects to dive into. Where I live the streets become lined in cherry blossoms. Tree after tree, row after row, the pink blossoms fill the sky. As islanders we know to soak it in and relish in it for the rain could just be right around the corner. I've always loved cherry blossoms and the experience of watching my little girl laugh and experience joy in what we call the "snow blossoms" as they fly through the afternoon breeze and flutter across our heads, faces, twirling and dancing in the sky, was one of those moments I'll remember for always.
I always say when the blossoms are blowing and line the sidewalks it's like walking on heaven. A heaven of puffy pink petals. It's bliss. I think we stood there for at least 5 minutes today in one spot just laughing in the blowing blossoms. Thankfully I am not the only loony toon who does this. I'm happy to have passed down my weirdness to my children. Poor things.
Aside from cherry blossoms, though I could talk about those purdy things for a few more paragraphs but I digress, I must admit I missed February. Yep. Didn't get my "Creativity" post in. It was a nutso month and I think I may have fallen a bit off track if I do say so myself. I tried my darn hardest to stay true to my January resolution post (read it here) but life does like to put me up for a challenge. It likes to say "hey Shannon, wanna play?" and then take me for a life ride.
I want to try to write this post at the start of each month to keep myself on track for the year. I like that I can write in this post honestly and openly and that you can all see that I'm a normal gal just like the rest of you. I need more sleep, I need to exercise more, balance my time better, remember to slow down and enjoy the little things and so on...you get my drift. I'm not perfect. I work too much. I lose my temper. My house is a mess. I take on more than I can handle - daily. But each night I know my little family and I are getting by and that most hours are spent happy. It's those hours that I feel like things are out of whack that I need to work on. The ones when everyone seems to need me for something and I just don't have it in me to do it all. The ones where you just want to curl up in bed and drown out the "to do list" that keeps you up at night. I hear ya. I'm right there with ya. I know you all can relate.
So this past month I didn't do so hot. I finally got up the courage these past weeks to start eating gluten/wheat again since my doctor gave me the requisition back in May of 2013 to get the tests done for Celiac Disease. Truth be told it scared me so bad to eat it again that it took me going to Seattle the other weekend to do it. We ended up cheating on our eating plans and I figured since I had already cheated I might as well finally get the scary thing done. So I've been eating the enemy and feeling horrible. Like an alien version of myself. It has not been fun. It has been hard. I have cried. I have felt sick every day but today is my first day back on my plan again. Goodbye wheat. See you never. I can't wait to fill my body with green smoothies, salads and whole foods and get back onto my exercise plan.
Besides working on JOURNEY events and travel for that I've been busy behind the scenes on a new sewing pattern - yay! Watch for the call for testers this month (fingers crossed)! I'm so excited to show you all! I can't stop making versions of it because I find it such a fun sew. I've also got a few knitterly things up my sleeves too...you know me - never without my needles and a sketchpad. You can also read a fun interview about me and more funny things here on Nora Meets the Maker! I was so excited to be asked by Kollabora to be interviewed by Nora! It was a great time! I heart Kollabora and if you aren't already a member I strongly urge you to join. It's so fun! You can also purchase some of my patterns on there as well! Come follow me!
So what's next for this month? Family. My folks are in town for 2 weeks. They get here tomorrow which means things may be sporadic and slow around here till they leave. I only get to see them once or twice a year and I love them to bits and pieces and I promised this time that I would not be a nutso working freak when they are here. Normally I am a stress case...lol. So this year I plan to take the time to enjoy their company without fretting over deadlines and work. I cannot wait to see them! I miss them so! It will be a good test of my January post to see if I can balance everything this month.
We are also in the middle of tax season. And if there are any other "tax widows" out there, and those of you who are know what I mean, you know April is hell. It's my most dreaded month of the year. Except for the 20th. That's my wee ones bday so I can't hate that day ;) And hello....how did my first baby get to be turning 7? Wahhhhh! I cry every time I think of it. But yeah, April is not fun at all. I go into survival mode and we all just try to keep our heads above water until it's over and we can breathe again. I love hearing from other gals who live with accountants. We all need to support each other during this crazy time.
Even though April is usually insane for us I'm going to attempt to do my darnedest to make it better. I'm going to slow down a tad and find the wee bit of balance I had for January and February again. I miss it. March kicked my butt and I don't intend April to do the same. I'm going to try my best to stay on track and I hope you'll join me. I love knowing that I have these posts to answer to and that I can share my creative journey with all of you and hear about yours too.
So who's with me? Anyone else a bit off kilter with their balance this last month? Who else is starting a new eating/fitness plan? Anyone else feeling the need to slow down a tad and rejuvenate their creative energy? Please chat. I so love to hear from you my friends :)
// PS - the winner of our Very Shannon Fat Quarter Fabric Bundle from Fabric Spark is.....commenter #193 - Marti Taylor! Congrats! I'll be in touch soon!
|IMG Src - IMAGINE GNATS|
It's a special thing to be lucky enough to have "met" so many of you and to have made so many wonderful and truly amazing friends. People I would never have had the chance to meet in life if not for blogging. There's such a great support system online and without it I would truly not be as happy as I am now in my 30's. It helped me found out "who" I really am and to go after my dreams.
That being said I've also been lucky to watch so many dear friends careers soar! Watching others go after their dreams and succeed is pretty much as good as doing it yourself. I truly believe that when you are a creative individual the ones that understand your quirks and nuances the best are the other creatives in your life. We all need them. You know the ones that understand why you stay up all night because you "just had to sew" or "you had to finish turning your heel" or "you had a great design idea and had to sketch it all out". Those people. The ones who know why we do the things we do to feed our soul and to fill our hearts. The ones who know the happiness of creating and making. Whether it be sewing, knitting, drawing, designing, writing etc....if you create you just understand. That network of support is invaluable to us...we need it.
So today I'm showing some support to my pal Rachael of Imagine Gnats. She's going after one of her dreams and I really want to cheer her on! It's sort of my virtual "hurray" for her. Rachael is so talented and such a sweet & funny friend. When she started her sewing pattern line I was just over the moon for her! Her designs are some of my faves and the kids and I both enjoy them. She's been doing great things and her next goal & wish is to be able to release paper versions for sale of her already popular PDF sewing patterns.
How was she going to achieve this? Well, I was interested too. This is something I hope to one day do as well so I've been following along with Rachael (nagging her with questions all the time...lol...sorry Rachael) and realized it's quite a big financial investment to get them going. So Rachael has started a Indiegogo Campaign to crowd raise funds for her new business endeavor! I love when my friends do this! I feel good knowing I can do something to help their business become a reality. Even $1, $5, $10 or whatever you can contribute can help someone reach for the stars! What better way to show our kids that you can go after your dreams?
I've contributed to 2 other friends campaigns and I tell you it feels great. And no, I'm not trying to get all preachy and sales pitch like here. I'm just sayin' it feels good to help out someone you care about. You can contribute whatever you can afford and some price levels bring you fun perks too! I strongly believe you can't reach the stars alone. It takes family, friends and community to support you. To believe in you. Having that belief and confidence in your dream makes a world of a difference. If you think and believe you can make it happen you truly can.
Here's a little bit about Rachael and her campaign....
If you would like to contribute to Rachael's campaign click HERE to read all about it. You can also visit her over on Imagine Gnats and check out her lovely pattern shop here as well.
Are you reaching for the stars as well? What is your "creative" dream? Do you have a special support system in your life that helps you be "you"? Coffee's on & I'd love to hear from you!
A new year, a fresh start.
I love when people share their goals, resolutions, dreams and thoughts from this time of the year. I like seeing that glimpse into a more personal side of them. That they are "real" and not perfect. It makes me feel better about myself not being perfect. I also find it energizing this time of year to know so many of us are working on changes, new ideas, and on making 2014 AWESOME!
I took a much needed and very lovely break over the holidays. During that time I did a lot of soul searching and thinking about life and my work/life balance. I came to a lot of hard conclusions about myself and what changes I need to make in my life for my health and for my family. Because I want to stand true to the decisions I've made I thought it would be a good idea to document it here so I can share it with all of you and we can all help each other work towards our goals for 2014.
I had a wonderful and amazing 2013 but there were a lot of months that my life was out of control. Months of unhealthy work habits. Late, late nights, high stress, pressure and feeling like I just couldn't get everything I needed to get done accomplished. It was mentally and physically exhausting. While I loved all the experiences I had in 2013 it played a huge toll on my body. I still don't feel 100% even after taking 2 weeks off. My body is slowly getting into a new rhythm. Bed before 11pm, no work after 8pm unless I have a special deadline and more sewing/knitting/designing time and less being handcuffed to the computer. It has felt amazing to take back some control. Say no when I need to and start getting healthy again.
You may also have noticed some changes on the blog. A new look, and a new name.
You will slowly see more changes over the next few months as I finish the rebranding. Luvinthemommyhood will only exist now as the url for the blog. The name that you will find me online using as of today is "Very Shannon". I'm so very excited about fully implementing this change. I've changed so much in the last 6 years of this blog and the original name just didn't work for me anymore. It was also very confusing to people and hard for me to spell and explain to people. It's also long and didn't fit well on packaging/branding. So "Very Shannon" was born in the fall and I've been slowly moving in that direction.
Today is the big day though! I'm putting in all my social media changes! So on twitter, facebook, instagram etc you will have to look for me as a new name.
FACEBOOK: in process of changing name (page url is new though - www.facebook.com/veryshannon)
RAVELRY USERNAME: @veryshannon
RAVELRY GROUP: www.ravelry.com/groups/veryshannon
My feeds shouldn't change at all it will just be when you want to tag me online. I'm sorry for any confusion or inconvenience during the transition but I know in the end it is the right step for myself and my business.
And now my goals....you ready? Have you written yours?
CARE OF SELF/FAMILY
- go to bed earlier (no more 1-2am bedtime every night).
- spend more "present" time with my family.
- differentiate work/family time.
- more work free weekends.
- make a more realistic work schedule and follow it.
- be kinder to myself and my body.
EXERCISE & HEALTH
- continue to eat well and enjoy my green smoothie addiction.
- find the time to exercise and make it a "non stressful" thing in my life.
- swim at least once a week.
- lower work stress and have more time to relax (downtime).
- get rid of the "belly" (keeping it real here ladies).
- purge and organize home.
- tackle unfinished tasks.
- get rid of more clutter.
- have fun decorating.
- keep workspace clean and organized.
- make more time to create.
- less computer time/more creative time.
- more focused and structured work time.
- balance designing and blogging.
I'd love to know what you're thoughts are for yourself for 2014. I feel like writing them down and sharing them helps in achieving them and I can't wait to read your thoughts too. Join in the conversation. Don't be shy, coffee's on.