We’re Open and Now We’re Closed

It all started with a few successful craft shows. A couple of hundred dollars here, a couple of hundred dollars there all added up to being able to donate a few thousand dollars to area organizations that encourage, serve and nourish those in need. Friends, family and customers really liked the things I was making. So many times I was asked where my items could be bought and do I have an Etsy shop. “It’s easy”, they said. “If you have an Etsy shop, then the whole WORLD will be able to buy your stuff!” Well, needless to say I got all puffed up and feeling pretty good about myself. So I bought a few books, read oh-so many blogs, listened to small business podcasts and “pinned” a whole bunch a “how to’s” and “Top 10 Things One Must Do To Be Successful On Etsy” from Pinterest. I was determined to do this right. So, in August of last year, I took my phone (camera) and a load of craft items outside to take pictures. I wrote about My Fear here. My friend Angie came over to help with the technical stuff. I took many pictures of each item…front view, back view, inside, close up details, with props, without props. I edited each photo and then put it in the right folder in order to find it later (which, let me tell you was quite frustrating for me. I’m not the fastest computer gal, if you know what I mean.) I cataloged each item, wrote cute descriptions, weighed the items, plugged all the information in and then posted online. I’m a cutting, sewing, crocheting, glueing, painting kind of gal, not a png., folder, and all of that computer stuff kind of gal. But I was determined to figure it out.A darling, smart and super talented young lady contacted me. Eileen was Mary Claire’s best friend when they were growing up. Eileen had graduated with a degree in Creative Marketing and wanted to donate her services to me. She admired what Merry Mary Studios was all about and wanted to create a logo for me. How awesome is that?!? After sharing ideas, she came up with several logos and banners that I could use for my business. Here was the banner for the Etsy shop, I had a logo for a stamp and stickers. I had a business license and thinking I was pretty profesh…professional. I was full on baby!

I even sold my first bag online to a gal in the United Kingdom! People. I was ready to take on the handmade market. I was ready to bring this all to you, sharing the site with everyone, but then life happened. Thomas went off to college. Superman and I went on seven states high point trip. I had to make things for the Christmas Market. I had to make a quilt for Tyler for Christmas. We found out we were going to be grandparents. Then there was the madness getting ready for a spring craft show. Add in there beekeeping, filling crochet orders, cooking, cleaning….just every day life.

I neglected my Etsy shop. I neglected my blog. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

People do this all the time. They have successful craft businesses. They create, write blogs and build a thriving business. But I just couldn’t do it. I was feeling like a loser. If only I was more organized, more efficient, then this would all go just like those gals in the blog world.

One day while I was preparing for my bible study “No Other Gods”, by Kelly Minter, it hit me. I was trying to force something that wasn’t God driven. It was “world” driven. I wanted to be like all of those other crafters out there making it look so easy. I made the hard decision to shut it down. And can I tell you? It felt so good!

Almost immediately, I mean like within hours, notifications started pinging in telling me of new followers to this blog. People from around the world, that somehow linked up to this crazy little place where I chit chat about life. Ok, let’s get real. I have like a couple hundred or so followers. So then all of a sudden, on the day I close the shop, I have 10-15 new followers to my blog! (For someone like me, that’s a LOT) Why? Why are people all of a sudden interested in my thoughts? Each day I get more and more followers. Why?!?

Honestly? I think it’s God’s way of telling me to stick with Him. Go where He leads me. Should I keep on making, selling and giving away? Absolutely! But do I need to have an Etsy shop to do that? Nope. In fact, I’ve got more orders than I can keep up with. What if I were to show you a few things here that I’m making? I hope you wouldn’t mind.

Friends, God has a plan for all of us. We can choose to do it our own way, following the crowd and trying to please the world, but I promise you, that in the end, there won’t be joy. By giving up the reigns of control, handing them over to God in prayer, we can live a life full of joy and contentment. I still have to do the hard work. I will come up to many obstacles. But the fruit of my labor will not be in vain.

I so appreciate you choosing to read this little blog of mine. It isn’t going to change the world, but I pray it can bring a bit of joy into a moment of your day.

My Happy Place, no filter

IMG_5921I’ve done it again. I got busy cutting, sewing, painting and crocheting, that I just made a big ol’ mess. It’s been two weeks since my last craft show and this room still looks like this. Lordy, Lordy, being neat is NOT one of my strong points.

You know what? I got to thinking that maybe I haven’t given you a proper tour of my happy place. Well, by golly, I need to show you around!IMG_5922 2So with my music turned up, I took it one piece of ribbon, one spool of thread and one ball of yarn at a time. If you are OCD/Neat Freak/Clutter Free/No Dust XYZ, then you may want to leave now. My 12×15 ft happy room may make you crazy, even in its “clean” state.IMG_5923 2My strategy to conquer this room was to start on the left and work my way around. I decided to put everything in its place…or at least in its general area. So here we go, on our left is my Cricut station. I truly don’t use this little amazing machine as much as I should, but it is good to have on hand. I store the vinyl, mats and rolled paper on the shelves below it. (Hmm…I’ve got that cat pillow there that I need to sell and the sunflower painting I need to finish up. It’s good to see these things.) Next to the Cricut station is a shelving unit filled with scrapbooking paper, stamps, painting supplies, and odd boxes of staple and glue guns. (I really ought to finish that neighborhood applique. It does a great job of hiding the junk though. I have a lot of UFP’s, unfinished projects, huh?)IMG_5924 2

Moving right around is my “office” area. Believe it or not there is a sort of organization going on here. Go ahead and ask me where something is…

Twine? Lower left hand cubicle.

Hammer? Easy…Upper right hand cubby in metal bucket!

Important MerryMary Studios documents? Thought you got me, didn’t you! Ha! In flowered folder in second from left upper shelf! Honey, I know where it all is. Those two rolling drawers are filled with ribbons, glues, markers, and doodads.IMG_5925 2Along with the crooked lampshade and falling down painted piece (I will never be Pinterest ready), I store my glitter and punches in the lefthand side. Yes, I have a whole box of glitter. A girl like me can never have enough glitter. Glitter is sparkly. Glitter makes things jazzy. Glitter is just so…glittery!

Three of those cubicles hold my bible journaling supplies…washi tape, stamps, stickers, devotionals and doodads. That reminds me that it has been a while since I’ve done any creative journaling. I need to get back to that.

Do you see the two pairs of pants laying over the back of the chair? Yeah, they need some fixin. And those two wine glasses are empty of crafting juice! Oh my! Note to self: Must fill.IMG_5928 2Ahhh the sun, glorious sun. I believe my very favorite part of this room is the window. After ten years of crafting in my old windowless room, this is heaven. I love opening the windows, listening to the birds, watching the squirrels and feeling the breeze. I purposely put my sewing machine right there. I have my sewing corner where the thread, rulers and iron are within arms reach. I only have to scoot around in my wheelie chair to grab whatever I need.IMG_5930 2 It is amazing what this tiny cupboard can hold…buttons, fusible webs, zippers, elastics, snap pliers, bits, bobs and even an ironing ham. I love my little gem.

As you can see, I’ve organized my fabric stash into color tubs. No, my fabric isn’t folded into perfect little rectangles or hung on cute little hangers, but it is in reasonable order. Hey, I figure that’s what an iron is for, to iron out the wrinkles. Does it look just amazing when every bit is carefully folded into a fat eighth quarter and stacked in color order, ABSOLUTELY!!! But I also know that I would get really upset with myself when it all came undone. I don’t need that kind of self-criticism. I’m letting that one go.IMG_5931 2Here we are coming to the opposite side of the room. The hutch has been with Superman and me since our first year of marriage, 31 years ago. Again, being in a room with no closets, I had to be creative. The upper portion stores books and some glass jars. The green basket holds fabric for projects I have in mind to do soon and the old dish rack files my patterns. Underneath is where all of the wonky stabilizers, interfacing and quilt batting can fit and not roll all over the place.

The shelf unit holds some of my craft show display items, empty boxes and bags, felt, more ribbons and other odd crafting supplies. It tucks nicely between the hutch and sliding barn door. IMG_5933 2This beauty is probably my biggest pride and joy. I made this sucka! All. By. Myself. It is a 4×6 ft cutting table on castor wheels that can lock in position. Yes, I cut, screwed, painted, sanded and lifted this big girl ALL. BY. MYSELF. Did I tell you how proud I am of myself and how I did this….all….ok ok. you got it. But really, look how beautiful she is! Not only can she be rolled easily around, she has a large surface to lay your fabric out on to cut and a very roomy shelf space underneath. All of my small fabric scraps go into their color drawer. She’s the perfect height to stand next to when working. In my last craft room, I used a long folding table, which was good, but it killed my back to work over when standing. This pretty gal is also great when a friend comes over. We each pull a red stool up to either side and do a project together. I love, love, love this table! You know, the one I made ALL BY MYSELF!IMG_5922 2So there you have it. My happy place in all of its glitter and mess. This room is so much of who I am. It is colorful, happy, and creative. It’s organized in an imperfect wonderful way. It has lots of current ideas mixed with the old. It is a place where God’s gift is used. This little room invites friendships to grow with scissors, paper, glue and lots of talk and giggles. Fabric and thread are sewn together in this room to sell and donate the cash proceeds to organizations that serve the poor. We all should have a happy place, whether it be a shed out back, a corner of a garden, or a soft comfy chair where we escape into a world of books. Where is your happy place?

This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by!

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