Knitting Update

Last September, I joined The Knitting Guild Association and signed up for their Master Hand Knitting program. It is a three-level course designed to evaluate your knitting and knowledge with the goal of improving the quality of your work. The work is done individually and then submitted to a committee for review. There are knitted swatches, projects, worksheets, questions and essays. When I found this, I thought I’d died and gone to nerdy knitter heaven!

My primary goal in completing this course is to challenge myself and learn. I am always looking for ways to improve my crafts and here was a group waiting to help me! The other consideration is that it could give me some credibility in the knitting world to have gone through and successfully become a Master Knitter. I would love for my portion of our family income to come from crafting in SOME capacity and maybe this could open doors to test knitting, teaching, etc.

I am currently working on resubmitting the portion of Level 1 that was requested by the committee. It’s hard to be critiqued when you feel like you’ve submitted your best work, but I can already see an improvement on some of the things that were mentioned. I’m anxious and eager to get the materials sent back to see if they have improved and now meet expectations!

While working on Level 1, I haven’t been knitting other projects as much. I have two new cardigans I want to make for myself, plus a pair of socks that has been waiting ever so patiently for me to cast them on. Plus the dozen other ideas floating around in my noggin. Amazingly, I have a relatively free weekend coming up, so perhaps it is time to to put a few new projects on the needles…

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Identity

Nothing Past Nine has been around for going on five years – FIVE years! During that time, many things in my life have changed…and many haven’t! NPN has been a constant, always hovering on the edge of my active thoughts. In all that time, however, I’ve struggled to give the idea of NPN a true identity.

If you go back through this blog, there are many declarations and good intentions. Hit and miss stretches of quality work followed by prolonged silences. At times, Nothing Past Nine has recounted the different projects I’ve been working on around the house or in the craft room. Other times is been focused on the small business world. I’ve done mini business workshops and crafting classes. I’ve tried consistent scheduled posts, thematic posts, designed posts, random posts, thoughtful posts, funny posts. You name it – I feel like you could find it here!

This particular post isn’t meant to be any of those things, but rather…all of them! There isn’t going to be a grand declaration of “THIS is the identity of Nothing Past Nine!” Instead, this post is meant to provide myself with a little grace. Our identities as individuals change throughout the course of our lives, and I’ve decided to think of NPN as growing with me. I know that’s not the way to grow a following or “make it big,” but I don’t want or need that. I need an outlet for my creativity, my projects, my goals. Perhaps Nothing Past Nine’s identity is just that; a safe space to share me.

However that evolves as we approach the big five year anniversary and beyond, I’m excited to take NPN with me. Whether that’s a post every other day or every other year. Anyone who wants to share the journey knows where to find me!

Small Affirmations

Don’t the proverbial “they” say that the first step is the hardest? Or…getting started is the toughest part? Something along those lines? Regardless, I’ve been thinking back on how much work it was to set up Nothing Past Nine, and the anxiety I felt before getting my first real sale. (Sorry friends and family, you didn’t count!) It feels similar as I begin to build a foundation for working from home.

There are so many aspects of creating a new career for myself that I can control such as which jobs or tasks to apply for, how many hours to agree to, etc. I’m a recovering control freak so these are the pieces I live for! What I can’t control, however, is the stuff I dwell on and fret about for hours on end. Will I be able to make enough to support a family? When will the right opportunity present itself? Will my “big idea” take off? Ultimately, my fears boil down to “What makes me special?” and “Can I do this?”

I read a lot of articles/books that tell us we can’t be too hard on ourselves; we need to be positive and see the good. So, I am trying to find these small victories and moments when I feel confident. Such as…my first article was recently published on Goals.com and while it only had 14 views after being live for two days (8 or 9 being me, my husband, and my friends….), I am a published author!

It is a small affirmation that I have talent that someone will pay for. It doesn’t matter how long it took to hear back, how much money I made or how many views it gets – I DID IT. First step taken, and I didn’t fall down. I may be impatient and need to adjust my expectations to be a bit more realistic, but I CAN do this and I WILL do this.

Welcome to Entrepreneurship!

You haven’t heard from me in quite some, sorry! My goals, my business and this blog have taken many turns over the last few years, but I am excited about some recent developments and hope to start a shift that will make a big difference in my life.

As my husband and I slowly inch our way closer to possibly, maybe, considering the potential of thinking about starting a family, I’ve had to take stock of where we’re at. Myself in particular. My best friend recently lost her baby boy, Jonah, at 30-weeks pregnant, and if that doesn’t shake someone to the core, I don’t know what would. Her experience and thoughts of my future family put different lenses on my view of life – my career, my schedule, my values.

In nearly three decades of living, I can’t say I ever thought I’d be, or want to be, a stay at home mom. It wasn’t that I thought the role beneath me or didn’t want to spend time with my children, but that I truly love what I do and always want to be a contributing partner in finances. There wasn’t even a dream that I could do both.

Now, I see potential. I have inspiration from my courageous sister who changed careers, my brother-in-law who left a lucrative position to find happiness, and as usual, my best friend who is a pillar of strength and light in my life. If I want to eventually work from home while continuing to contribute to finances and the well-being of our family, I can do it!

So, as this blog and site take another turn, I hope to create a place that promotes me, my story, my talents and my interests. Sound selfish? It kind of is! BUT, I do it because I know I’m not alone and because I know I’ll need support. I’m starting to hone my skills and figure out how I can support myself without the comfort and stability of a “normal” job. There will be struggles I want to share, learning moments that I hope will help someone else, and hopefully successes to thank you for participating in!

This bumpy road of on-again, off-again blogging and sporadic social media presence has lead me here. I’m not “special,” but I’m willing to learn, to try and to work my tail off. I think I’ve finally turned the corner from being a hobbyist, and am excited to step into being an entrepreneur!

Hobbyist vs Entrepreneur

Calendar with MiscIf you haven’t noticed, I love words and digging into their meanings. My husband would probably say I just overthink everything. Can’t really argue that point either…but I digress. Names. Titles. Positions. To some people they are just words, but as I started this business, built up my Etsy shop and made my first few sales, I really started thinking about whether I was a hobbyist or truly an entrepreneur.

Initially, my motivation for the shop was to share my talent and have a direction for my many projects. Just as a hobby farmer raises animals for enjoyment and (not usually) for profit, Nothing Past Nine felt like an extension of my hobby – something to do for enjoyment. As the months went by, however, I started to notice that even with Etsy’s user-friendly platform and minimal sales, I still had to do a lot of “real business” tasks to manage. At first I brushed that off thinking that even a child running a lemonade stand keeps track of their sales and money. And then, of course, I started to think on it more, and more, and more…

Merriam-Webster defines “entrepreneur” on their website as: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. No, I’m not dreaming up the next Apple computer in my craft room, but I organize, I manage, and I assume the risks of my little shop. People have expectations of me as soon as I list an item. To continue this metaphor filled post, I had a lightbulb moment that is similar to when you realize that there is no magical moment when POOF! you feel like an adult – it just happens! Never did I dream that I would be an entrepreneur but that is exactly what I am.

It can be hard to take ourselves seriously when a project, idea or business is in the early stages. Heck, it can be hard to yourself seriously at any stage of business ownership – cough, or life, cough, cough! What I find to be consistent among the entrepreneurs I see succeeding, though, is that they believe in themselves. Even when it’s a little risky! If you want to take your passion from hobby to business, don’t be scared to consider yourself an entrepreneur! I certainly wish I would have told myself that a couple of years ago.

Have you found yourself in this situation? Did you have plan for your life and when it strayed, you didn’t want to acknowledge, or maybe just didn’t realize things were different? Maybe you have a different take on this topic! Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear! Leave us a comment, or share on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Creative Business Dictionary: Friend

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Friend - SquareOctober 15, 2015 – Friend

n. one whom one knows, likes, and trusts; one with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade

I could talk about the importance of this word for days. Moving to a new city, in a new state, and more than 400 miles from nearest family means trying to find new friends. Getting older means maintaining relationships despite growing apart. Progressing through life’s stages means letting go of people who bring you down, and finding people on the same page who support you and encourage you! Being human means seeking companionship and camaraderie.

The two keys to this definition for me are the words “trust” and “allied.” I have many people that I know and like; I may even call them comrades. What I have found to be difficult is finding true friends that I trust unconditionally and who really feel like allies in the struggle I like to call Life. Whether it’s going through treatments, planning a wedding, throwing a baby shower, or simple coffee dates to let off steam, friends are gifts from God that make life much more meaningful (and bearable!).

This week I am determined to be a better friend to those who consider me one! I find it’s easy to be consumed by our own situation, but tough to put that aside to connect with someone else on a deeper level. I am so grateful for the friends I have and all they do for me, I want to make sure I’m giving it back and sharing it with others!  Let’s be honest, it takes a lot to put up with a crazy gal like me, and as a small example, there is no way Nothing Past Nine would have gotten past the dream stage without UH LOT of support!

Check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for behind the scenes looks, product information and more!

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What I’m Reading

Some people chuckle at the fact that my library card was one of the first things that made me feel like Charlotte was home, but I have devoured books as long as I can remember. Even when it meant Mom had to read “just one more chapter” before I would consider sleeping! I am a huge fan of our metro library system and almost constantly have something checked out. Usually multiple somethings!

20151013_205530Lately I have been rather selfish in my book selections, choosing to read a lot of “self-help” and personally uplifting materials. Currently on my nightstand – amongst the Bible, devotional, study book, puzzle book, Sudoku book, lotions and glass of water! – are The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman.

Before I wrap up this post, let me remind you all that I am no superwoman. (Case in point – this post is going out at 9:30pm my time!) Reading is one of the first activities that takes a hit when I am tired, behind schedule on posts, or feeling overwhelmed. That’s actually part of the reason I’ve chosen to read these books!

As we work at things and get involved in various capacities, it can be hard to say “no” and to enjoy the journey that we’re blessed to be on. I know I have been so focused on growing Nothing Past Nine that I hit a wall and wanted to quit. The Happiness Trap talks about the stories we tell ourselves – like the idea that we aren’t good enough – and how to accept the thoughts without letting them consume us. For the Love discusses living gracefully in a world of unattainable standards like those we women tend to create for ourselves. Cough, social media cough, cough! Lord knows I need to give myself a break on some things! Finally, Simply Tuesday focuses on small moments when life is beyond fast-paced. I cannot believe how fast the last few years have gone, much less the last week! Appreciating the small moments takes me back to enjoying the journey.

Enough talk for now! Need to save a few minutes for reading before bed! What’s on your nightstand? Are you a non-fiction or fiction reader? I LOVE good book suggestions so please share!