Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Little Boys and Super Heroes

Big changes at Berry Patch Cottage in the last 12 months - the biggest of which was that I resigned from my professional job a few months ago to become a crafty stay at home Mum.  It was a big call, but a necessary one, and life in our little family is getting back on track as a result.

It did give me time to finish some crafty projects that have been stalled for a while.  Master J has been looking forward to a new sweater for quite some time, and who could deny this face!?!

This pattern is called "Lennix" by Rebecca Newman (available on Ravelry).  Rebecca also has a Facebook page TinyLovely.  I've been crushing on this pattern for a long time - I love the way she does the colour changes throughout with the different stitch.  And I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

The yarn I used is from Rachel at FeatherBrush yarns (also on both Ravelry and Facebook).  Isn't it stunning!!  This yarn is a DK/8 ply wool yarn.  The colour way Rachel dyed here was inspired by the character Captain America, which is one of Master J's favourite super heroes, so of course I had to find buttons that went with it too...

Master J couldn't wait to take it for a spin so we headed off to his favourite playground on a glorious cool clear early-Spring morning after the school drop off for his siblings.  He was delighted to have the playground to himself and took off at run.

Lots of sliding!


More running... 

And a trip to the playground would not be complete without some climbing!

And that is the first of my crafty blog posts...  Hopefully the first of many!

xx E

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The start of the journey

2016 is a year I've referred to in my personal goals for the year as "Back from burn-out '16".  I haven't blogged since announcing the store closure in March and I think that is pretty symptomatic of how this year has gone...

2015 found me:

  • working 20-25 hours a week outside the home in a rewarding job, but where the demands on my time greatly outstripped the time I had available
  • attempting to transition one of my children to school, a child for whom change is difficult.
  • deciding whether or not to close my online retail business (and therefore admit failure)
  • grieving for a close family friend whom passed away
  • as well as being a parent, and wife
Long story short - things were seriously out of whack, I pretty much burnt out and knew things had to change.  My online store was closed and a lot of time has been on self care this year, but still things were not right so I delved into more self analysis.  As a result, more change is coming in 2017 with time being carved out for me.  My job has being tweaked and I'm reverting my hours back to 20 hours per week so I can do things that are important to me, like renovating our home and crafting more.  It's been quite the journey!

When you google "quotes journey" a Goodreads link come up with 1088 quotes about Journey.    I did the search in the attempt to articulate why I wanted to share where I hoped my self care and crafting journey would take me but I think I have concluded that the why is not that important!

“Failure is not the end. In fact it is the beginning of a beautiful journey.”

This one really spoke to me about the fact that closing the online retail store wasn't the end, but more a new beginning.

“One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.” 

This one (after you put aside the bad language)... Well, figuring out what I need to be Ok is, and what my crafting style is, is a big part of this journey so I'm thinking this is a pretty important part of that.

Then there were the quotes about the journey being important rather than the destination, and that the path of that journey is winding and we may make some wrong turns along the way.  I love the quote from J.R.R. Tolkien...

“Not all those who wander are lost.” 

“I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the artist.” 

“Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.”

― Erol Ozan

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” 

Ernest Hemingway can be often trusted to have something thought provoking to say.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 

So, I have decided that I need to at least have a vague idea about the destination I have in mind, and then focus on the journey.  My initial destination is having the ability to be able to articulate the design ideas I have in my head.  That means learning the tools that I have available to me - Adobe Photoshop, photography, Adobe Illustrator and improving my art, hand sewing, patchwork, appliqué , quilting and knitting.  I've started these things in 2016, but not as far as I wanted so will continue in 2017.  2017 is also all about renovating our home!!  We've just had the green light to do that and I'm excited!  And I hope to share that journey too...  This is going to be a fun journey!  I wonder when and where I will get lost and sidetracked.

And of course a good craft blog needs some images - here are a couple of projects I am particularly proud of from this year:

This is my Farmgirl Vintage quilt (pattern by Lori Holt) - a gift for my Canadian "Mom".  I did a student exchange way back when, it changed my life for the better and I wanted to thank my "Mom" for her influence on my life then and since.  Visiting her this year and giving her this was an awesome chunk of self care for me after my Canadian "Dad" passed away last year.

I told her that it was for using and not keeping for special occasions, so I love that Miss E and Grandma curled up for movies together while we were visiting.

The other is a recently completed wall hanging:

This one goes up for auction later this week as a charity fundraiser for Rainbow Youth NZ (for details go to my Facebook page).  The pattern is by Sedef Imer of Down Grapevine Lane, from her book Quilt Petite.

So, the journey has begun.  I look forward to sharing more of it with you...

Happy Sewing!

xx E

Monday, 21 March 2016

Berry Patch Cottage shop closing

It was with some sadness that I announced in late January that Berry Patch Cottage was closing as a fabric and crafts retailer.  The website will be closed after March 30th, and as soon as practical I will have the website address point here, to my blog.

The last 5 years, since I opened BPC, has been a challenging but amazing journey.  I have learnt so much!  And built my fabric and yarn stash too much!!  And with no time to use it!!!  But when I step back and consider the reasons why I opened in the first place, I have not achieved those goals.  I have 3 gorgeous kids (one of who arrived during this time), and an amazing husband, who has been incredibly supportive and patient throughout this journey.  And it is for them that I have decided to call it quits on the retail business and go back to being:

...a Mum

...a Wife employee in my career field (packaging technology)

...and someone who crafts for pleasure, and have the time to be able to make and gift hand-made items to friends and family whom I know will appreciate them.

So, if you have come here looking for my online shop - I am sorry to disappoint you.  If you click on the "shop" tab above it will show you where I am selling off the last of the residual stock.

This blog will be a space where I can share my passion for fabric and yarn based crafts.  What will hopefully be developing photograph and design skills...

And an obsession with coffee, and all things berry...

Happy Sewing!!

xx E