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I knew how to crochet and knit when I was little. I learned from my mom and also from leaders in my church, through different activities. Like many things in our lives, I stopped doing it, and in doing so, lost that talent.
Fast forward to pregnancy #2. I didn't know what I was having yet, but I wanted to have something special to bless my new baby in. I wanted to make my baby a crocheted blanket for that special day. Something they could keep forever and pass down to their kids. Something tangible they could remember me by, and one day their kids could say, "Grandma made this!" I was talking to a friend, telling her I wanted to do this, but didn't remember enough from my youth to get it done. She gladly offered to come to my house to show me how to make a blanket. She had found a very cute, simple pattern online. She printed it out and came on over. It was so cute and girly! Very basic stitches. She showed me the basics of a single crochet stitch and a double crochet stitch. Luckily, I'm a visual learner, so with that and my previous memories, I was able to pick it up pretty quick. (In the end, I ended up not using that specific blanket, because it was girly and I had a boy. Luckily I had a blanket that my grandma had made! So I can tell me little man, "Great Grandma made this!"
I had so much fun with the blanket, I decided to try something new. My sister talked me into buying a few hat patterns. I did, and things just took off from there! I made my first hat and people started showing interest. Anytime I came across something I didn't know how to do, I looked on YouTube to learn how. Things just progressed from there, and soon I was making all sorts of things.
I have a friend who had an etsy shop, and she answered all my questions about opening an etsy shop. I (being my usual self) was a little afraid to commit. She calmed my fears, and my sister-in-law said I'd be stupid if I didn't open a shop and try. So here I am today!
I've had my etsy shop open for two and half years now. I remember my first sale. A pair of crocheted earrings for a woman's wedding! I was super intimidated, but reminded myself that I was confident in the products I sold. I made sure everything was perfect, just how I wanted it, and she loved them! Of course it started out slow, but things picked up as I went along. I had slow periods and busy periods, just like everyone else.
Just over a year ago, I started up an Instagram business account. That's when things really went crazy for me. I was getting more sales, and I was LOVING it. Crocheting was something I was confident in, good at, and really enjoyed doing. It was addicting. I'd text my husband at work and tell him how many orders I'd gotten that day. To me, more orders translated into more debt paid off. More Christmas money to spend. More money to "save".
Last Christmas rolled around, and I was BUSY! I had orders rolling in. It was so exciting. People needing things rushed, and I'd do it. More people needing orders for Christmas, so I'd do it. I didn't want to turn any possible order away.
I didn't know how to say no. But really, I did. I was saying no to my family, unfortunately. My kids would ask to go play outside, and I'd say, "Let me finish these booties first, then we'll go!" But I'd finish, and they'd be entertained with something else, so I'd just start one more project. Things got away from me. I'd committed orders to people, I didn't want to let them down or get a bad name for my business. In turn, realistically, I'd let my kids down. And that wasn't ok with me.
I have learned SO much through having this little business. I totally enjoy it. I love making new things. I love creating something to bring joy to other people. I love doing something that stays done! I at times got my priorities mixed up. I've gotten carried away. I still absolutely love what I do, but I've learned my limits. I've been reminded of what is most important in my life. It's my family, obviously, right! There's an excellent talk out there given by Dallin H. Oaks that talks about things in life that are good, other things that are better, and other things that are best. He says, "Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best." This is something I've REALLY tried to focus on, and it has really helped me so much. Making a little money to help pay off debt is good. Serving others around my is better. Serving and focusing on my family is best. It's all about finding a balance. Let me just say, "I don't have it mastered yet. Not even close. My house still turns into a hurricane disaster often. I resort to frozen pizza often. I skip story time sometimes because I really need to get an order out. BUT, I'm learning to say no. I'm reminded often of why I'm even here on this earth. To me, it's being a mom, a wife, and daughter of God. THIS is what is best, and this is what I choose to focus on when prioritizing my business life. It's helped me find balance, and helped me enjoy the fullness of joy in all aspects of my life.