Spring Fabrics are HERE!

March 20, 2014

So yesterday I posted explaining that things have been quiet around the BLOG because things are changing on the BLOG.  Many of you took that to mean that the shop was changing or new products were being added.  That isn’t the case.  Better Life Bags is staying exactly like it has been… making amazing leather/fabric bags and hiring more and more women from our immigrant community to do so.   The newest venture has to do with some personal goals I’m going after, but have to keep quiet a little longer about it.  You can peek at the picture from yesterday’s post to give you a hint about what it might be.

But, timing was wonderful and the new Spring Fabrics arrived last night!  So those of you who thought the “BIG NEWS” had something to do with the shop…  well… you can be right, too!

Here they are.  Spring 2014 Fabrics.  Alive and well on the site – ready for you to start designing!

Spring 2014_edited-1


Something BIG is coming!

March 19, 2014

Just popping in to let you know that things are quiet around here for a reason.  We are getting ready to do some moving and shaking and make some room for big things.  So, don’t be surprised if things start to look different around here.  We’re really excited!

Here’s a sneak peek…



Balancing Life.

February 18, 2014

Running a business, raising a family, keeping house, and investing in a marriage is all a little overwhelming at times.  Then throw in the obstacle of managing it all with one car and you have yourself a schedule nightmare.

As we have been adjusting to being a family of five, I’ve really been studying what works and what frustrates me in our schedule.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.  Maybe some of it will be helpful to you, too.

Balancing LIfe and Work

1.  Wake up early.
Corbin has already been sleeping from 10:30 pm – 5:30 am without waking.  I know.  He’s an angel.  But I DID go through TWO sleepless babies before I got him, so I figure I put in my dues.  I try {really hard} to stay awake after his early morning feeding is over.  He will usually fall back asleep and I can use those blissful early morning hours to get physically ready and spend some time in the Word getting spiritually ready.  I also try {really hard} to fall asleep as soon as he does at night.  In full disclosure, I have NEVER been a morning person.  And when I’d hear people tell me to get up early for a good start to my day I literally wanted to throw a rock in their face.  So note: if you have a newborn or toddlers who still wake up multiple times per night, do not attempt this.  And drop your rock.

2.  Schedule alone time for simply refreshing myself.
My husband and I have traded babysitting with a next door neighbor for bi-weekly date nights.  This is semi-alone time.  In addition to those, I block two 2 hour periods during the week when both my older kids are at school for some relaxation time for myself.  I do not plan meetings or Skype calls or visitors during those blocks and I don’t go into the workshop.  I can usually rock Corbin to sleep and then I relax on the couch with some Netflix or read a good book.  Whatever I feel like doing that day to refresh myself.  Those are sacred and very protected times.  I also try to sneak away by myself (note: no baby) for a few hours on the weekend.

3.  Know my vulnerable times and create coping mechanisms.
Late afternoons into early evenings can really be downer times in my life.  First of all, I go into the workshop every afternoon and have such a good time designing, talking shop, and interacting with everyone there.  So heading home to the chaos of what is “home” right now for me is a little daunting and hard to do.  Not saying I don’t genuinely LOVE hanging out with my kids, but they also are extremely tired by the time I get home since neither one of the older ones take a nap anymore.  And tired = meltdowns.  Plus by the time I get home I realize I never planned a dinner – so there’s that.  It’s just not a good time.  I’m working on placing coping mechanisms into my late afternoon/early evening.  I like to have a treat waiting for me at home.  Whether that’s a piece of chocolate or those 99cent Arizona Green Tea cans.  Mmmmmmm.  Pandora on my TV has also been a lifesaver.  I turn the volume up to 40 and blast the All Sons & Daughters station.

4.  Create a weekly To-Do list instead of daily.
I love my Whitney English Day Designer, but I don’t utilize the To-Do lists for each day.  I keep the Monday and Tuesday pages for each week and tear the others out.  Monday’s page has a running To-Do list for the shop.  Tuesday’s page has our personal and house To-Dos.  I cross off and add items throughout the week.  It’s satisfying to see how much I’ve crossed off at the end of the week and anything left over gets added to the next Monday/Tuesday page.

5.  Clean up the night before.
A fresh morning start usually begins with a nightly clean up.  I love waking up and walking down the stairs to a clean living room and kitchen.  So, no matter how late I have to stay up I will pick up the toys, blankets, and dirty dishes from the bottom level.  Nothing is worse than kids waking up and making a mess on top of a mess.  Grace upon grace?  Yes.  Mess upon mess?  No way.  {kidding}  {kind of}

Areas I still need help and advice with:
Meal planning, grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry, and getting my kids dressed and bathed.  Oh – and snow shoveling.  Specifically snow shoveling after you didn’t keep up with it and now there is a layer of thick ice underneath snow.

What are some of your life balancing acts that work well for you?