Dream Jobs and Defining Success

Call me a weirdo, but my dream job might be a full-time student. I am absolutely dedicated to being a life-long learner and hopefully have passed that passion on to my current and former students. Not only am I passionate about learning new things, but I’m a really good student! Seriously!

(If you are a former K-12 teacher of mine-just trust me, I’ve gotten so much better!)

My dream job only has a few drawbacks:
a.) It’s not a job.
b.) I wouldn’t get paid.
c.) I would incur so much debt that my grandchildren would be paying off my student loans.

So this goes back to my major reflecting in December. This led me to this new-found passion for crochet, which inspired me in general. Then a conversation with my friend, Jenn, about local yarn shops sparked another idea. An idea for a really cool business. That idea has been fermenting in my mind for months, and I’d like to think getting better with age. Hint: It involves crochet and teaching ūüôā

But I’m not the type to take a lot of risks, so if I’m going to execute this business, I’m going to do it right. After weeks of searching off and on, I found reasonably priced online-learning, instructor-led classes for a fair price through my local community college. The courses are just for  completion certificates instead of grades (I don’t need a degree, but I do want to learn in an organized manner). Cool! I get to go back to school!

The class I’m taking is about writing business plans. The first lesson was about success and the assignment was to post in the discussion board about what success meant to you both personally and professionally. This was actually challenging for me! So I ruminated on it and came up with the following answer.

When I first thought about what success is, I thought about those motivational posters “Success is a journey, not a destination.” I do think success is about progress. 

Personal success:

For me, personal success is achieving a work-home balance. I tend to let work take over. I want to be comfortable enough to take vacations and enjoy my time at home.

Professional success: 

I think of my success as achieving a myriad of goals. Small goals first like 20 followers on my blog, 100 sales in my (future) Etsy store, and 10 people signing up for a class I teach or better yet, people requesting more classes.

Both:

Ultimately, if I have consistent business, I love what I do, and I make enough to survive, I will think of myself as successful both personally and professionally. 

 

What do you think? What does success mean to you?

From Market Bags to Coasters

Call me crazy, but I love crocheting in the round. My absolute favorite thing to make right now is this market bag from Daisy Cottage Designs. I made one for myself for the Farmer’s Market (see image). Then I made a coral-orange one for my mom for her birthday (but I didn’t take pictures because I wasn’t planning a blog at the time!).

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The picture does not do this justice!

Now, I really like making gifts for other people with my new-found skill. So last weekend I made a small rose scrubby for my friend’s house-warming party. ¬†And instead of making a bunch of scrubbies, I thought I would finally check out Moon Cookie Gallery in downtown Kankakee and buy some of the homemade soaps I’ve seen posted on ¬†their Facebook page.

Guys, I love small businesses so I might be biased, but this place rocks! It has so many pieces of art and homemade goods! I could live there. Just being in the place was inspiring, but then talking to the owner Natalie was even more inspiring!

I know Natalie’s dad, Scott, from real estate (I sell; he inspects), and the two of us are talkers. I happened in on Moon Cookie’s one year anniversary so Scott was there. So he started showing me some of his work that she is selling, and I showed them my work on my phone, and one thing led to another, and Natalie said she would sell items for me if I want. How cool is that?!

I really like the idea of selling market bags there because they are my favorite thing to make, but I also want to try new things. Natalie said that people often look for coasters in her shop-probably because there is an amazing artist that sells pottery there (planters, stoneware mugs, plates, bowls, candles). So the wheels start turning…

Next stop (same day) is my friend Allysa’s house-warming party. Her mom was showing someone her crochet hats and…she and I started gabbing about crochet. By the way, her hats are really cute. Maybe someday I’ll blog about her :). Anyway, we started comparing work and techniques, and she showed me how she used the magic circle on her hats.

Trust me, I had looked up the magic circle before, I had watched videos, and I had blew it off. Pfffff…my circles were¬†small enough. But when I looked at her work that night, I thought…ehh maybe I should try it again. Her circles were definitely better than mine!

If you are following along, someone mentions coasters, and I need to work on the magic circle… leads to I should make coasters to PRACTICE my magic circle. Light bulb! So Tuesday night I made some coasters using this pattern from Where the Sidewalk Ends and Life Begins (what an awesome name for a blog by the way). So this is how mine turned out.

Cue failed trombone: wamp wamp wamp waaaamp. They weren’t flat. So I checked back to the blog. Yep, hers were flat compared to mine. My boyfriend said, “Maybe you crocheted the outer part too tight.” After googling and another attempt, it turns out that he was right. Problem solved. Easily fixed by pulling out the blue yarn and re-doing it.

So then I thought, it’s almost summer, and I pinned some cute watermelon coasters on Pinterest. And I had some pink and green yarn from Easter projects that I never made. I looked up my pins, and they all called for a lighter yarn than what I had. So I thought why don’t I just use this pattern that I know how to do (above). Instead of the final slip

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Fixed coasters left. New watermelon coasters right.

stitch (Round 5), I added¬†an extra half-double crochet line of green and then slip stitched around. I added a couple stitches as I went in the new Round 5, and it turned out great! Tomorrow I get in my black crochet thread to add seeds; I can’t wait!

So I’m making coasters and mastering the magic circle, and chatting with the boyfriend. And we got to talking about what kind of coasters his mom would like. She has a beach theme in one room; and I consult my trusty Pinterest board. Of course I have sea shell coasters pinned- I mean, of course!

I thought, “I’m on a roll, why not try it?” (…okay ¬†really I was sick with a cold and after three naps…I picked up a hook). The seashell pattern that I liked was difficult to find (lots of coasters for sale or visual patterns which are not my strength). However,¬†I did find this simple¬†sea shell coaster pattern from Ramsi Leigh Crochet. The pattern called for two strands of yarn, so I tried to be fancy (first pic). I thought it was cool, but my best critic said it didn’t look like a shell. So I tried it again with only one color of yarn and used stitch markers because I was admittedly a¬†little sketchy on stitch counting with the first one!

I loved the way these turned out, and I think they will make great gifts for people! So I’ll make sets of four of all these coasters, and maybe some lime slice coasters too. I also really liked using two different yarn strands together, so I’m going to play around with that. Maybe blue and pink or lime green and blue. I still don’t have anything to sell for Natalie (or my future Etsy store), but I’m becoming a magic circle master and having fun, and for now that’s enough!