After 3 additional day of Christmas Break, my kids went off to school today. It was 1*. I was secretly wishing I would get an early morning call telling me roads were bad and we had another day off.
But the call never came.
It was time for schedule and routine to show up again. We had enough long + lazy winter days. Having the Polar Vortex make an entrance + forcing people to empty the shelves of the local stores was more reason to have pajama days too.
But back to routine.
My routine was new after 8:00am today. Once the kids + hubby were kissed + wished a great day, I let out a big sigh!
Here it was.
That day that I have only dreamed about. That day where I'm my own boss. I don't have a mid day job to go to.
Uninterrupted amount of hours to focus + stay in task.
Several hours to finish cleaning + organizing my sewing space.
Being disciplined enough to leave my phone upstairs.
Listening to 3 episodes of Dave Ramsey.
Making a smoothie for breakfast + a salad for lunch. Because I planned ahead + I'm not in a rush running out the door.
Dreams do come true if there's a plan + that plan is attacked with action.
I know its January 6 + I'm just now writing about my word of the year. But I had to make sure Simplify was the right word for 2014. It is. Simplify means to make less complicated; simple. To make life less complicated. To make each day less complicated. There's so much in my life that I can simplify in 2014. Even though it's only the 6th day of 2014, I have made a few choices to simplify my life.
First, freezer meals
. Yesterday, I took out a meal before we left for my oldest sons indoor soccer game. We were home by 2:00. Normally, we would have eaten out and not had a second thought about it. Instead, we came home, I tossed the half thawed freezer meal into my beautiful Dutch oven, which was my MIL. It was done by 5:00. I made some rice to go with the Teryaki Chicken.
Tonight, I made a pork tenderloin recipe
, from Pinterest
. I had everything on hand. Tossed it in the Dutch oven and it was done by 5:30. My house smelled divine too. Husband texted me about 4:30 + asked what Amish meal he was having for dinner tonight.
The second thing that has been simplified in my home is our Master Bedroom
. It was becoming a tossing ground for everything. I'm notnjokingbwhen I tell you that instill had beach towels + swimsuits in the bedroom. They belong in a cabinet in the garage. Then bring in the wrapping paper, tissue paper, tape and boxes for wrapping the Christmas gifts. That was when my skin started to crawl.
With the Master Bedroom Redo
in full swing by last Friday, I was more than ready to clean and toss and just get rid of the unnecessary things surrounding me.
The bedroom is back together and it contains the necessary items. The piles of books are gone. The stack of purses are in the closet. The Christmas wrapping supplies are stowed away. The beach towels + swimsuits are back in their proper home. I feel like I can breathe again
. I've also cleaned out the cupboard under my bathroom sink. Seriously, how much hairspray do I need since I don't use it. Ever. I tackled the spice cabinet today. I should have taken a picture. But just take my word, it was bad.
Even lil' alice did a fabric de-stash! I made a large donation to my Mom + my Granny
who make Granny Square Quilts all day long.
I don't know how else my life will be simplified in 2014 but so far it feels good. And all of this is a start! How much baggage am I carrying around, mentally, physically, + spiritually? 2014 will find a way to show me!
I love to paint walls. I love to paint only so I can see the outcome. So I don't stop until it's done. My family has been known to fend for themselves while I paint a room from start to finish. Call it what you want. I call it motivation with a one track mind. Nothing else in life can happen until the room is complete.
On purpose, I schedule painting during a time when I have 2-3 days to complete the job!
The need for a new duvet cover happened a few years ago. The Pottery Barn cover was getting worn + it starting nagging me. I browsed online forever. But was unable to find one that fit the colors on my wall.
It's a little hard to match those two colors to say the least.
I digressed + I quit looking + I didn't think much about it anymore.
Move forward to Spring 2013 + it was fairly close to Mothers Day. The family + I were picking out a couch for the bonus room. I saw a spread that I liked + so did hubby. He said, "Happy Mothers Day, get it if you want!"
And so I did.
I found paint chips shortly after + had the colors picked out.
Here's a list of reason why I just now painted:
I don't like painting in the Spring. After a long winters nap, I am ready to be outside.
I don't like painting in the Summer because I like to be outside.
Fall is really busy with planning the Holiday Art Fair + School is starting + I'm working again + the holidays are coming.
I told hubby I wanted to paint during Christmas Break but after the New Year.
I had to wait for him to patch.And then the day arrived
. But only after I went to Sherwin Williams + the dude screwed up 2 gallons of paint to get the Frozen Pond color correctly. This was the color behind the bed. I was there for 1.5 hours + never in all my walls I've painted have I had that much trouble. When we walk thru Home Depot as a family, I always stop at the paint chips + grab a few. The color that I wanted was from Home Depot, but I've done that before + it's never been an issue.
After many trips to the managers office, he finally got up + helped the dude out! The manager finally cracked the code on my Frozen Pond. I wonder if those two $50 each/gallon came out of that dudes paycheck?
It's not finished. I still need curtains
, a slipcover
for the chair + the artwork above the headboard
But until then........
Pinterest. Do you browse Pinterest and pin things? I do. What I don't like is when I'm browsing Pinterest in the evening about 10pm and I start pinning food. It makes my stomach growl. And I'm practically salivating on myself.
Last week my husband and I were discussing our goals for 2014. One of my goals that I said out loud was to make more/better dinners. It's called a rut. I've been in one. I don't plan ahead then when 3:00 arrives I'm shocked that I don't have a meal planned. Then I toss the crowd a grill cheese and call it good.
After our discussion I thought I better get to work on my meal planning. So I started pinning. I started browsing Freezer Meals and it dawned on me this might be the ticket to a popularity contest amongst the home team. I grabbed my phone and texted my neighbor and asked if she wanted in on the fun. Jen was all for it.
On NYE night Jen and her family came over for a low key evening. We picked simple meals. All if them are gluten free or I made them gluten free.
Here's the steps we took.
- We picked 10 recipes. We started simple but we also didn't want them to become science projects in our freezer either.
- I wrote out the shopping list and split up the items. 2 categories: grocery store + warehouse club for bulk items.
- I cooked up some beef the night before for the spaghetti sauce and we made mash potatoes on site. That was all we cooked. This was on purpose. We were a little sketchy about the flavors of the meat after it had been cooked, frozen then cooked again.
- Jen and I are morning girls so we started at 9am. That also works best for her and her kids who are 4 y.o. twin girls and 1.5 y.o. boy. Can I just say her kids were awesome for the 4.5 hours I was there.
- Make sure you have plenty of large bowls, knives, spatulas, cutting boards etc.
- First thing we did once we had everything out on the counter was we chopped up all our veggies. We cut onions first and they made us cry like crazy. Some recipes called for chopped onions and chunked onions. Same was true for carrots too. Honestly, I could chop all day long.
- Next we went thru the recipes one by one. Gathered our ingredients, lined it up. Dumped what we needed in a bowl, stirred, mixed, and then divided into our labeled Ziplock Freezer Bags.
- Because it was about 12 degrees that day, we could toss our stuff out into the snow and let it firm up before tossing it into the bag.
- We had more than the recipe called for so we doubled the recipes and walked away with more than 10 meals.
- We got so much done in 4.5 hours. Dishes were dirty but we would use the same bowls and just wash them out several times. It wasn't that big of an undertaking considering what you get in return.
- When we decided on what recipe we were going to use from my Freezer Meal Board, I would snap a picture of it on my iPad. This helped for when I was writing out our shopping list. And it also helped when we were whipping up the actual freezer meals on the day of. We didn't have to go thru Pinterest looking for which recipe etc.
- I made all of my meals Gluten Free. For the meatloafs and meatballs, I made my own bread crumbs the night before.
- We snuck a lot if veggies into these meals that our families will never know about. We used all fresh veggies and fruit. The fresh pineapple was divine.
- Chicken tenderloin instead of chicken breasts.
- I buy a cow so we used 10 lbs of my beef. That cost is included below in my break down of pricing.
Spicy Southwest Marinade. Jen had a bullet that made this smell so yummy after it was blended.
Spicy Southwest after it was blended.
So our final costs:
$110 per family.
$5 freezer meal
$1.25 per person for my family of 4
$1.00 per person for Jens family of 5
And we didn't use coupons.
Final word: Make a Freezer Meal Board on your Pinterest page ( only after you have eaten) and pin recipes that are relevant to your family and what they will like. Grab a friend and jump in and have fun.
Jen and I laughed because we couldn't replicate what we made yesterday. We improvised a few things. We tossed a lot more in than it called for or we left a little less out because we didn't have enough.
What counts is that our family will have 22 awesome meals in their very near future.
In 2013 I supported handmade items & small business. I did it on purpose. I love supporting people who have discovered their hidden talents. They didn't let the voices inside their head or the voices of others take them down.
Confession: I'm guilty of buying most of the items for myself because I knew I would appreciate them + if I gifted them I don't know that they would be as appreciated.
Grace and Lace
, located in Austin TX, has beautifully handmade scarves, boot socks + leg warmers. In 2012 I bought a pair of her off white leg warmers from her Etsy Shop
. Her story
is amazing + out of her pain came Grace and Lace.
Recently, she was on the Shark Tank + she got a deal with Barbara. I was so happy for her + to celebrate I bought the scarf + boot socks. All 3 of the items are to the highest quality + they are oh so soft + cozy + warm but not thick + bulky.
Pen + Paint, located in GA, is nothing but yummy goodness for your walls. She makes amazing paints + prints that are hard to resist. I follow Pen + Paint on Instagram + she shows behind the scenes of her work in progress. Always fun to see!
I have this exact print hanging in my kitchen + I love it. It is on great stock paper + compliments my walls nicely. Pen + Paint also has canvas paintings too. I'm sure that will be purchased in 2014. I have to pace myself!
Ashley + her hubby, Nathan, of Gnarly Whale
have an amazing story. Their business has boomed this year + he quit his job to work full time on this with Ashley!
Their products are fabulous! Gnarly Whale
products are made with minimal ingredients + all vegan + smell of the tropics, I was so excited when mine arrived. She even tossed in extra products for me too! That's a perk of working with small businesses!
is a business that happened by accident. She has an amazing story about how Evy's Tree began + how she got the name.
The Lizzy Zip Up is a fabulous but not your normal hoodie! It has an off centered zipper which makes it unique + the fabric is heaven. I have fallen head over heels for this zip up.
They all have humble beginnings + they all have a story that started their handmade journey! I believe in shopping local + supporting local businesses. Local to me means the good ol' USA.
My favorite thing about getting my handmade item in the mail is seeing the packaging + handwritten notes + extra freebies that they toss in! Each one of these items were packaged with style + their brand.
I am looking forward to supporting handmade in 2014!
What handmade shops did you support in 2013?
Do you ever have a feeling in your spirit?
A dream in your soul?
But you don't know how it's going to happen but there's a restlessness inside you. Your days carry along + time passes by. You believe that one day it will happen but you just don't know how.
You have a sense that change is on the horizon but you just don't know when it will happen.
There's a lot of change going on for me, personally + for lil' alice. And I am beyond excited + amazed at how it has happened.
I have been an employee for the school district that my kids attend. I wasn't familiar with the district at all. I didn't grow up in this area. My husband did, but he didn't attend the public school. I was hired in as a lunch/recess aide when my youngest was in 1st grade. He's in 5th grade now + my last day there will be this Friday, December 20th.
During those 4 years of working everyday at the school, subbing for different positions throughout the school, I met great people. I saw how the teachers taught + how they loved their job + their students. I've met great people + staff along the way. I learned to become an advocate for my kids along the way, to be their voice. I learned to take the teachers side + not to take my child's side when something wasn't turned in on time or his work ethic wasn't up to snuff.
I am beyond thankful for the years I spent at the elementary school. It gave my kids a sense of comfort when they needed a hug during the middle of their school day. I was there. When they needed to hold my hand for a few minutes before running off to play with their friends, I was there.
Needless to say, that has ended. Before I turned in my 2 week notice, I talked it over with my youngest to make sure that he was okay with me leaving. He was hesitant although he doesn't acknowledge me at school...you know, he's too cool, but then he said he would be fine. That's when I felt peace.
Beginning in January, I am making a job change. I will be working part time outside of the home a couple days a week.
The other couple days will be spent working in the lil' alice shop (insert happy dance).
Deep inside of me I've had a restlessness. I didn't know how or when that restlessness would be settled. What would change? I didn't know. When would it change? I had no clue!
Then the puzzle pieces began to fall. They started to come together + within a short time period the puzzle had been put together.
The way it came together was not what I had envisioned in my restless soul. It's not what I thought it would look like at all.
But it's happening + He continues to write the story!
There are some important tools that I use on a daily basis when working in the shop.these are also a few of my favorite things in the shop.
All of the tools that I am highlighting are in my shop and I love and adore them. They make sewing run smooth.
Above are some comic book cardboard protectors. I will be working on folding all my fabric around the cardboard.
I have a lot of fabric, I won't lie. It's a small Hobby Lobby. Once each is folded around the cardboard, I believe I will be able to stand the fabric up instead of stacking. This will take up less space.
This is my newest pair of scissors and if any one touches them, they may loose a finger. I only cut fabric with these. I have older scissors that I cut zippers and other things with.
The scissors are by Friskars. They cut the fabric like butter. They are fabulous.
Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter is a must if you are cutting bulk fabrics at one time. The mats last a very long time. This is my original rotary cutter and ruler, approx 6+ years old. Blades can be expensive but I always buy with a coupon.
I love a new paper day planner. I started this year (2013) with using a day planner for the biz. It helped with keeping me on track, reaching goals, what blogs I was sponsoring, blog ideas as they came to mind etc.
I bought 2014 day planner already. I have written goals in the front of each of the planners. I write goals down as they come to mind. It's a slight understatement to say that I am really excited for 2014.
I use it strictly for the biz.
My workspace. I love it. The two tops are solid wood sitting on top of black "legs" that have small shelf on top. They are actually made to hold a computer tower. All of this was purchased from IKEA. It has held up very well and it's perfect for a big work space.
These are just a few if my favorite things in the shop.
What is your favorite thing(s) in your work space.
I am so excited to share a Black Friday deal with you. BLACKFRIDAY13 for 20% off total purchase of $40 or more over at the shop!
And guess what, the discount code is available now thru 11.29.2013 until midnight EST.
So head on over to the shop and shop! Enter BLACKFRIDAY13 for the discount.
This is applicable to what is in the shop and can not be applied to custom orders.
Shop link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/lilalicesews
6 weeks.....left in 2013!
You are welcome!
But seriously, for the past week I have been reflecting back on the year. What has lil' alice accomplished this year? What really started the reflection was 2014 goals coming to mind + needing to write them down.
I really dreaded writing the goals down a year ago. If I wrote it, it meant I had to do it and I saw it as a hard thing to do.
I took my time and wrote down my goals as they came to me. I challenged myself in ways I didn't know if it would be attainable.
One of my goals for 2013 was to give Etsy another chance. When I first opened up Etsyin 2010, I didn't try hard enough. I didn't know I had to though. I thought Etsy was too big and lil' alice would never be found. That was my excuse.
In 2013 I decided to stop making excuses and start making my goal a reality. I am happy to report I gained sales thru Etsy, which makes my really challenge that number for 2014. Etsy isn't my only source of sales. I have a lot of face to face sales, shows, open houses etc.
I'm looking forward to writing down my 2014 goals. I think I am more competitive than I would ever like to admit + I am more competitive with myself.
Please share what goals you reached for 2013?
If you follow me on FB or Instagram I post behind the scene shots of products in production. This is one of the pieces that I've posted + is now listed. New to the shop + to the holiday shows is the Quilted Essential Zip Pouch. The inside is a coordinating color + you can't resist to get a few for your girlfriends + maybe put one under the tree for yourself. The fun + fabulous essential zip pouch is perfect for organizing your bags + purses. Things like..... make up + lip gloss, pens, nail kit, cords for phones, laptops, + iPods.
Who on your list is going to have their name on one of these beauties!
And I must admit that this fabric is fun + I don't stop smiling as I'm constructing them.