My blogging experience began on a different blog where I chronicled daily life with my young children. It evolved into a homeschooling blog as they aged into homeschooling. Then the horrific back injury happened, my children started attending public school, and my homeschooling blog…didn’t fit anymore. I tried to force it to become a lifestyle blog, but I was in no shape for that sort of topic because I was basically bedridden and it’s hard to showcase your cooking and decorating skills when you’re mostly just watching Netflix in one of two locations in your home as you heal. Once I got strong enough to sit in a chair, I started piecing quilts because it was one of the few things that I liked enough to actually motivate me to get out of bed and push through the discomfort and pain of regaining those muscles.
I blogged about my quilting adventures on my dusty homeschooling/lifestyle blog for a bit before deciding to do a clean break and start a new blog devoted entirely to my creative pursuits. I got super lucky and Fat Quarter Shop sent me an email about six months into my “I’m going to be a legit craft blogger” experiment, asking me if I wanted to participate in a sew along series. I first saw the email while I was sitting my van in a Walmart parking lot, and I could not drive home for a few minutes because I was sobbing big, fat, excited tears. I was absolutely delighted! And I’ve done sew alongs with them off and on through the past six years. I am very proud of that partnership.
The ambassadorship for Blank Quilting last year was EPIC. So much fun in a much needed time–being stuck at home with nowhere to go and boxes of fabric showing up on my doorstep every other month? Um, yes please!
But, if you noticed, I stopped doing those collaborations after my (amazing) September quilt. There was a lot of other stuff going on behind the scenes in the Brooke home throughout 2020, and it just reached an all-out overwhelm by October, so I had to resign from the Blank Quilting ambassadorship, which absolutely broke my heart. And since then, I’ve been working on patching up all the things that went sideways. It’s been a long year since then, and I’ve been very busy with physical therapy and tending to other things that I don’t want to talk about in this space. AND I finally went all-out on a flower garden, which I enjoyed immensely. (But whew…gardens are intense!)
And I’ve been wondering throughout this entire past year what I should do with That Crafty Cara. Keep plugging along as a craft hobbyist and use this space to showcase my projects? Knuckle down and attempt to turn it into a moneymaking endeavor? Walk away?
While I was weeding and pondering, I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to walk away, but that my focus needed some adjusting because my focus as a crafter has shifted. I niched down hard on quilting in 2015, but I didn’t include “quilting” in my online handles because I knew that I wasn’t “just” a quilter. I am an all-around creative, and I knew that eventually I’d want to shift to something else and take a break from quilting. Hence the choice of “crafty” to describe myself, and not “quilty.”
But I’ve been afraid to lean into that shift because I’ve been afraid I’d lose followers and opportunities to do cool stuff with cool quilt-related brands. Quilts have been my thing for the past six years. So I’ve tried to force it this year, et voila, I haven’t been motivated to do anything creative. It could be the state of the world and all the burnout from dealing with that, it could be that we have a lot of quilt tops in our house that need quilting and I’m overwhelmed by them, it could be that I like to cycle through my interests, and it could be that, spoiler alert, I’m a human being who likes to explore new things.
…consider this my declaration to the world and myself/apology letter that I’m going to do a little bit of exploring in the next little while. There may be very little quilt content going on, or I might start working on them again in a month because I am relieving myself of the pressure to perform, and, by indulging in this act, it suddenly allows the quilty mojo to return. Who knows?
If the events of the last eighteen months have taught me anything, it’s that the only person’s happiness I have control over is my own. And if something is feeling “off,” that’s reason enough to pause and explore why that feeling is happening.
…let’s press pause and do that.
Where should I start first?