Monthly Reflection - May 2016

"Among the many buds proclaiming May
Decking the fields in holiday array,
Striving who shall surpass in braverie,
Marke the faire flowering of the hawthorne tree
Who finely clothed in a robe of white,
Fills full the wanton eye with May's delight."
-Chaucer

I wanted to start a monthly reflection, where I touch up on a few things from my business and personal life such as things for which I'm grateful, things I've accomplished, current projects and goals for the following month. As my business continues to grow I may add more things (like a report). And if this gets to a point of being successful, it would be both fun to look back and see how it all began, how it progressed, and might have some info that would help out future entrepreneurs. 

My daughter swinging - she named this crabapple "Moko" and calls it her tree friend.

My daughter swinging - she named this crabapple "Moko" and calls it her tree friend.

Things/People For Which I'm Grateful:

  • My husband, who makes it possible for me to follow my dreams of being a homeschool parent and an artist. Also, he built an awesome kiddie pool that the kids love!
  • My daughter for inspiring me to live creatively. She is my muse.
  • My son who always greets me full of excitement and with the biggest smile. He has so much love to give.
  • My early followers (my friends). Especially those of you who read my ramblings and follow my journey every step of the way, and those of you who have shared my work with others. You give me strength and the support I need to keep going, especially on days that I doubt myself and my efforts.
My son playing in the kiddie pool my husband built.

My son playing in the kiddie pool my husband built.

My Accomplishments:

  • I launched my website and blog, reactivated my twitter account, started up on instagram and have maintained a workable blogging schedule. My previous attempts at blogging quickly faded before I gave them a chance to take off. Definitely took the plunge with this, and I'm not giving up this time!
  • I created a weekly inspiration/reflection post (Inspiration Fridays) in which I find a quote with which I connect, illustrate it and reflect on how it is relevant in my life at that moment. Cool thing, Tom Robbins, whom I quoted last week, liked my tweet! 
  • I participated in several blog promo challenges. Although quite involved, I came across a few new things that I liked, especially some recipes to try (which I pinned). The jury is still out on whether this is an effective marketing tool, as I'm not sure any of the people who checked out my blog at the time are people who would continue to follow me, though I did get a few FB page followers out of it.
  • I completed my May needle-felting exchange challenge - this month's theme was cartoon characters, and I chose Sarah from Sarah & Duck. I'm not sure who loves that show more, me or the kids.
  • I connected with several local homeschool moms with kids in the same age group as ours. I'm really looking forward to getting our kids together in the coming weeks/months/years and hopefully becoming lifelong friends and learning partners.
Sarah from Sarah & Duck

Sarah from Sarah & Duck

Current Projects:

  • 2d needle-felted owl tapestry for my daughter's room
  • DIY closet curtains for my daughter's room (son will get them when I don't need to worry about him getting tangled up in them - for now he has doors)
  • Valance for my daughter's room (future DIY post)
  • Fabric gift bags. I replaced the wrapping paper/bags with reusable cloth gift bags for Christmas, and now I'm working on the same for birthdays and other occasions. (future DIY post)
  • Hexie quilt - this is a really long/involved project that will likely be ongoing for some time. I shared a picture of a piece of it on my craft page.
  • Decorative needle-felted mobile for son's room. Although he's not at the baby stage of needing a mobile anymore, I still want something in his room to go with the pirate theme. 
  • Gourd birdhouses and birdfeeder. There's one birdhouse completed that needs a final coat of polyurethane and then needs to get hung up in the garden, and another that needs some paint and waterproofing.
  • Gardening/expanding veggie garden. I also have a huge interest in growing medicinal plants, and I planted an elderberry shrub with plenty of room to grow. I'm also currently stratifying some bilberry seeds in the fridge (which I should have started earlier), hoping that they will germinate in a month or few. I'm going to try a few at a time each month, seeing if they grow into anything. Bilberries are related to blueberries, but much more intense in flavor, have a purple flesh and are excellent for improving/maintaining one's vision - by which I mean eyeballs, not personal goals.
WiP owl tapestry

WiP owl tapestry

Goals for June:

  • Get set up on Stumbleupon (and continue marketing efforts)
  • Add more items to my Etsy shop.
  • Continue participating in the needle-felting exchange.
  • Brainstorm tutorials and other fun blog posts. If you have any ideas on what you'd like to see, feel free to share in the comments!
  • Continue with blogging schedule and maintaining social media.
  • Add more activities/printables to my TPT store.
  • Participate in the Usborne summer reading program that was set up by two of the members of my local meetup group. Click here for more info if you're interested in joining. Every child who completes the challenge gets a free book or wipe down flash cards!
  • Catch up with my friends and meet some of the local homeschool families. I've been holed up working on getting this project of mine started as well as running the kids from one activity/appointment to the next. Since this upcoming week is my daughter's last week at her nature preschool, we'll have more time to spend with friends and participate in learning activities with other kids.
  • Create/set up some new learning activities for the kids. With homeschool there's no difference between school year and summer (though I do like to take a break from that on the weekends).
  • Get better about setting up some sort of routine. I have a habit of getting involved in a project and all other things get put on the back burner. I want to make sure that everything, myself, my projects, marketing, household duties, kids/family gets ample time, and nothing gets neglected in the process. Once I get that figured out, I will do a blog post detailing what works for me.
  • I promised my husband I would help him out with his game-design dream/venture. Truth be told, I've held off from getting started, both because of the things I'm working on for myself and because it's a HUGE learning curve. However, a promise is a promise, and it would be good for me to brush up on my skills. I will make an effort to devote a bit of time to working on that. The trouble is finding a balance, but since he's been working on it for well over half a year now, he might now be able to point me in the right direction on how to start (when before he was jumping from one software to the next to figure out which one has the best features and results without crashing).