That Time I Almost Quit

You may have noticed a general theme if you’ve ever looked through the projects in the craft section of this blog.

My projects are nothing fancy.
Not complicated.
Not exactly intricate.
Don’t generally require hi-tech tools.
And often, they’re nothing new.

I don’t share my projects in hopes of unveiling the next cutting edge craft or introducing the latest and greatest thing to take Pinterest by storm. I leave that to the pros. I share even the most simple (and often self explanatory) of my projects in hopes of reminding others that in fact, You Can Do This.

You can make pretty things.
And you should.
Often.

What you create may not involve craft supplies.
It may be music, or a piece of art, or a service project, or food or…

The quote that welcomes you into the craft section of LMM reads:
“What you create doesn’t have to be perfect.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

And I stand by that.
I learned this important lesson from an artist I had the opportunity to meet at Whatever Craft Weekend earlier this year. She wasn’t teaching a “self-help” lesson or anything. Rather her example and her art were the inspiration I needed to begin creating perfectly imperfect art. She helped me realize that in striving for perfection in our craft, we are squashing potential creativity.

We should color outside the lines.
Miss a stitch every now and then.
Spill paint. Make messes.
Take risks.
Try new things.
Have several projects going on at once.
And practice courage when creating.

Not that long ago I shifted my thinking.
And then I tried to force my heart to jump on this new path that my “thinking” was taking me.  I had decided that I wanted my writing to become my form of artistic expression–not my crafts, or decor, or celebrations.  Afterall, my crafts aren’t that ground breaking–I mean, what am I really offering this world with my glue gun and a can of spray paint? Nobody really cares. And that was seriously the dialogue I had going on in my head.  Not very encouraging. Or motivating.  But it took me a bit to see that…

So I stopped crafting for a while and sat down to write.
And nothing came.
A few weeks later, still nothing.
A few months passed, nada.
I panicked a little bit–okay, I panicked a lot.

And again, my mind filled with self doubt–this time about my writing. You didn’t go to school for this. You’re no good. You make grammar errors.  You are NOT a writer, you’re an impostor. No wonder you can’t find your words. 

I forgot about fabric and mod podge and card stock all together as I became consumed with my inability to put pen to paper. I even went so far as to spend an entire day writing what I had decided would be my final blog post–ever.

But I never clicked publish. 

I decided to sleep on it.
Think about the impact of such a final decision.

The next morning I kneeled down for my prayer.
A prayer full of vulnerability.
A prayer with tears.
A prayer in which I had prepared myself for the possibility that I would receive an answer I wasn’t yet ready to hear.

But then, just like that, a piece of my heart whispered back…
CREATE,
it said.
Me: But that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do…
CREATE, I heard again.

The answer was clear.
And it was coming from my heart.
Not my head–the same head that generally functions in overdrive.

So I tried to listen.
I dusted off the card stock and glue gun and twine,
and I spent Sawyer’s entire nap time creating…rather than rushing through my list of chores.

My creation was simple.
A staple of mine.
A project I could do in my sleep.
One I knew would bring me joy.
Basic, paper bunting–a tiny pennant banner.
Certainly not magazine cover worthy.
And when I finished, it wasn’t like I had suddenly found the inspiration to write the next great American novel.  But I did feel peace replace that usually anxious part of my heart.  So I kept it up. Kept Making.

Over the next few weeks I found that the more I made, the more peace I felt.
And what I learned…was that perhaps the very thing I had cut out of my life so that I could focus on my writing–perhaps that was the very thing that had been inspiring my words all along.

What I create doesn’t have to be perfect.
That goes for my writing as well as my crafting.
And allowing this desire for perfection to paralyze my progress,
well that’s just a darn shame.

So enough of that.
Get ready for some more B- crafts from a girl who loves to make stuff.
And that whole dream of becoming a “real” writer…yeah, I’m not ready to give that up either.

Photos brought to you courtesy of my iPhone, since my camera wasn’t charged for my impromptu craft session.

1-photo
1-Kate
2-photo copy 3Free printable found here.

3-photo copy

I decided to wrap the mini bunting around this clipboard that held one of my favorite quotes.
Now it’s ready to be given to a dear friend (with some yummy treat, of course).

Where I hang my bunting:
(circa Summer 2013)
photo

Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Ashley Stock

Comments

  1. Wow,
    Hi Ashley!
    I am so very glad to have found you! It’s like my ‘ANSWERED’ prayer! I am a brand new (almost squeaky clean new) blogger. And needed to read and absorb those beautiful words BADLY. Thank you for making it “EASY” and not a rat race!
    xoxo
    Sally

  2. Dear Ashley,
    I am so glad you found your answer. Don’t ever stop writing. I look forward to your posts all the time. They put a smile on my face. You are a “real writer” already. I have always felt that your love story makes a great read. You should definitely get that published. It’s even fit to be made in to a movie! Who knows, some day on the other side of the world, I could could be watching a movie be like “Hey! I know this story!”
    Love,
    Nazzia

  3. This post is just what I needed to read! Thank you!

  4. Dear Ashley,

    Don’t ever quit. I just keep thinking about the time God made me find your blog, not once, but twice. It really helped me get through a lot, especially with parenting, knowing I was not alone. You are truly an inspiration, through your words, pictures and crafts. There are a lot of us B- crafters out there, so as much as you may think they are not good enough, they are wonderful. They give others the feeling, yes, I can do this too! Keep writing, crafting, and being who you are. You are a beautiful person, inside and out, and someone I wish I knew in real life. I look forward to each morning to see what you have to offer to this world. Whether it’s a love story, a craft, delicious food, or pictures of those two beautiful blonde hair, blue-eyed, dimpled cheek babies it’s something that makes you put a smile on your face.

  5. Great post! I am in a similar phase of my life… I can totally relate to this post, so thank you for sharing and being vulnerable with us!
    Love the bunting by the way :)

  6. your words touched me deeply, I love your blog and crafts, you inspire me, I still can´t get myself to write even though i would love to, I started creating, crafting ( even if mostly it´s copying ideas I see and love but nontheless) keep inspiring !! :O)

  7. I have been following your posts for about a year but have never commented before. I look forward to your posts more than any other blogs that I follow. I think you have a true talent for writing. For being real. As a young mom myself I love reading about your adorable boys and your life as a mom. Keep it up you are an amazing writer!

  8. I also wanted to add that I love that you wrote about this topic specifically because I know so many of us can relate.

  9. I love your projects BECAUSE I feel like I might be able to do them myself. They aren’t too complicated or to expensive for me to attempt! I’m glad you’re staying!

  10. Don’t ever stop writing. Don’t ever stop creating. Life is an adventure. Dig in and enjoy it. It’s your life, your journey, and your adventure!

  11. Ashley,
    Don’t ever stop writing! In fact, when I got to your fourth paragraph (before you mentioned anything about writing), I thought to myself, “I wish I could write as good as her”. And your projects always turn out amazing, too!! Keep it up! :)

  12. I call it crippling perfectionism, it’s something I waged battle with years ago and still occasionally have to remind myself that I am enough. What I do, is enough.

    I find myself not writing or updating our blog, FB, or IG for a completely different reason: the brutal ugliness of the cyber bullies who tear strangers to threads under the protection of anonymity. It’s more than disagreement or critique, it’s a flat out assassination and an attempt to cut a fellow human off at the knees. So, I (and many others) remain silent in an effort to protec that which is most important: my husband, my children, my faith, my life.

    It is saddening and maddening to compare our gifts and struggles with the gifts and struggles of others. I love reading about creativity and triumph, but honestly wonder if it is worth the downright ugly and nasty.

    Kudos to you for not giving up. Your little guys are darling. When I see your pictures, it makes me miss ‘home’.

  13. I love you! xoxo Mom

  14. Wow. Thank you for this post! It is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’m a newbie in this GINORMOUS crafting/blogging/social media world. Just last night, I had a total downer night thinking I could never MAKE IT. I don’t have the skill – I don’t have the money – I don’t have the followers – and whatever other negative comments flooded my mind! But this post totally helped remind me why I started my blog — FOR ME! To NOT be perfect. To document my life and what I love to do. Thanks again for sharing your vulnerability to help mine. :)

    take care!

    xo
    Daniela

  15. Love this! Please don’t ever stop writing – you are such an inspiration!

  16. I love this post…and I think the photo of the chalkboard is super..very cool ideas!!

  17. I think your crafts are awesome and perfect! I still want to know how you made those cute little Halloween things with the embroidery hoops. So darling.

  18. Your writing is beautiful. And those pictures of the boys are so heart warming. I am way out of your age (71). I some times feel that I have just added two grandchildren. I admire you to be able to write, craft and stay up with your beautiful family. I know back in the day when I had a young family, I found it hard just keep things clean and be there as a family. You are right when you said God answered your prayers as without him we couldn’t exist in this busy world. Please don’t stop posting even if it just posting pictures of the boys, (my new grandchildren).
    God Bless

  19. Your crafts may be “B-” as you say and not comparable to the “pros”, but your writing…your writing is unlike any other blogger out there. Which is why I imagine you have so many loyal readers. Keep it up Ashley. You really do have a talent with words!

  20. I have recently started making things and I very much take that saying to heart!! :)

  21. I think you are so creative! Heck, you were the one who inspired me to get my own Silhouette machine to craft! Granted, the machine still intimidates me, but still you are inspirational! Don’t forget that!

  22. You’re amazing and inspire me! I would be so sad if you stopped writing =(
    You have a way with words that keeps me coming back to read your posts! Keep it up beautiful! =)

  23. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
    ― Maya Angelou
    I have really found this to be true. Making something pretty, drawing a little, crafting, something seems to spark something inside and then I am on a roll again. :)

  24. Ashley,

    I started following on instagram you right before you had Sawyer. Your boys’ sweet smiles were too unbearable to resist so I hit “follow” and your family has been on my radar ever since! Since then, I’ve had my first baby as well! I continue to check in on your blog for the simple reason that you’re so sincere and real. Time and time again, you remind us to slow down, and soak it all up. That message is priceless and translate to all of us whether we’re new to this “mommy” business, aren’t quite there yet, or are seasoned pros. I’ve never commented before, but I figured I’d take this chance to let you know how much I appreciate your perspective and your dialogue plays in my head from time to time. Thank you for sharing your gift and your little corner of the world with us!

    Roxie

  25. Evidently the Good Lord has been hard at work again – I too was thinking about calling it quits and giving up on my goal to open a little shop, keep blogging etc. Guess it isn’t my time yet! Thanks for this Ashley!!

  26. I love that quote. I need to print it and hang it in my craft room. I am very type-A and it definitely squashes my creativity at times. And seeing as I am trying to run a craft blog, not the greatest combination. The funny thing is, I have the opposite problem as you. I could write all day (and sometimes wish I would have started a lifestyle blog instead of a craft one), but don’t always have it in me to make something! So, I did as you did and the other day, just wrote. It wasn’t a craft related post, it was just me sharing what was going on. And it has truly helped me to just get out there and craft again. Thank you for being so inspiring! It helps to know we are not alone in our struggles.

  27. I am glad you did not quit! :)

  28. I love your creations! And your writing certainly was fantastic…I was completely engrossed…Hang in there, girl, and create away…

  29. I always have to have something on the go. If I don’t make something, or create something, I find it hard to do anythin, and will probably start picking my hair (I know you know what I’m talking about.)

  30. I LOVE your website. As a Mom of Two little ones and trying to be crafty and balance running an Etsy shop I can relate on several levels. I admire you and enjoy reading every entry you have. Please don’t give it up. You have a knack for getting to readers’ emotions. You do know how to write, create, craft and be a wonderful mother. So keep it up!

  31. I love your blog! You can’t quit!!! You aren’t done with the love story. You would break my heart if i can’t read the rest of what you have to tell. :-)

  32. Oh Ashley, I am so glad your answer was CREATE! I love and absorb and am so encouraged by what you write, the way you write, and how you share… your writing is amazing and a blessing to many and I hope, I HOPE that you will continue… because you have so many of us readers ready to read.

  33. That left a little tear in my eye. I have had similar struggle. I ended up in college haha. Beautiful post!

    Shannon
    Domestic Engineer’s Union

  34. Never ever quit Ashley! You are such a talented writer and i really really appreciate the manner u describe your family life with such honesty and ever hopeful. Every single blog post of yours has been a source of inspiration to me!

  35. I adore your site, so inspirational and I appreciate you sharing your talents with the world.

    Katie x
    http://missenchanting.blogspot.co.uk/

  36. As the year 2012 came to a close, I pondered and reflected what my word of the year should be for 2013. I wrote down a few ideas, but the word that really stood out to me was “Create”. I used President Uchtdorf’s talk as a center point for my word. While my year hasn’t been exactly as I expected, I have used my word to try and become the woman I am supposed to be. I still don’t have the answers, but I know that the word “Create” was supposed to be my word this year. Your blog post inspired me, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story.

  37. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. I loved reading it and although I am new to your blog, it really speaks to me.

  38. Thank you as always for your honesty, and sharing your kind heart. You inspired me to start my own blog. Although I don’t write as often as I want to, you remind me of these things…what you create doesn’t have to be perfect. Even my blog writing, or lack thereof. Thanks again!

    xoxo, Misty

  39. A few weeks ago I started comparing my little business’ beginning to other peoples’ middle and I was really discouraged. Through tears I told my husband I was thinking about quitting because I was fighting an uphill battle. He just listened and offered encouragement but my heart was shut off to that.

    A few hours later, I was bombarded with orders and stumbled across a quote I needed to read. It said “never quit anything on your worst day. If you’re going to quit, make sure you don’t do it on the worst day.” I promised myself I wouldn’t quit that day, and I would just sleep on it. Those moments still come and go… But I’ve kept going too. (;

    I’m glad you didn’t quit on the worst day… Funny how we keep going if we just get past those. (;

  40. This is incredible. And so are you! I just wanted you to know that I have been reading your blog for the better part of the last year, and you are an amazing an inspirational woman. You don’t know me, but I am so proud of you for overcoming an uncertain time, and finding your way through it. Keep crafting, keep inspiring, and keep doing what you love!

    :)

  41. We stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you.

    Look forward to finding out about your web page for a second time.

  42. Hi Ashley
    I came across your article after a Google search for “quitting craft”. I’m feeling the pressure to “get a real job” after trying to grow my own business for the past 18months and was wondering how to tell my existing customers that I’m ready to give up. Returning to what you started doing – the reason you started blogging – sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the inspiration and keep on creating!

  43. I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful posts filled with touching moments and real life experiences that everyone can relate too. I think too often we only see the outside shell of individuals that we view as perfect but deep down everyone has up’s and downs. I recently started a blog to share my creative projects. I too have a wonderful love story that I hope to share someday as well as my experience being a new mom and housewife. . I often doubt myself when I have failed so often. I just give up because I rely on someone else’s approval. Your blog gives me courage and inspiration. I just need to believe in myself. Thanks again Ashley and have a wonderful inspired day!

  44. great publish, very informative. I ponder why the
    other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You must proceed your writing.

    I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  45. Grеɑt article.

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