Jen Spilly Designs
handmade for woman and home

spillymade blog

Handmade for Woman and Home

Return & Reset

The Little Beach.jpg

If you know me and see me or talk to me on any kind of a regular basis, you know that I have been in a state of “getting back to sewing” for a long time. 

A couple of years ago, I was renting a studio in downtown San Rafael and teaching sewing to kids after school. Things were going well. My classes were full and I had people begging to get into my classes. My original plan was to teach in the after school hours and use the other hours during the day to work on my own stuff - bags and accessories to sell in my online shop. The problem was that I got so busy that I was spending all of my non-teaching hours prepping for classes. I was shopping for supplies, tracing and cutting patterns, preparing project kits to make classes go more smoothly… Outside of that, time to exercise and shower in the morning and do extensive volunteer work at the kids’ school, I had no time left over to do my own work. It got so that people forgot that I ever made products to sell  in the first place… I became simply a sewing teacher. 

Teaching was only ever meant as a way to pay for the studio rent. I never wanted it to become the entire business. Plus, I was not loving the work. Most of my students were great, but let’s face it - kids are kids, and I already had two of my own. I was getting home at 5:30, having to keep track of my kids’ whereabouts after school by phone or having them come to the studio and do homework while I was teaching (which was always a disaster), and I was always feeling rushed for dinner and my house was always a mess. Plus, the very nature of an after school program of any kind implies “day care” for some parents, which means some of my students just weren’t as passionate about learning to sew as others.

Spring of 2015 was my last full schedule. After teaching a little over that summer between family vacations, I made the decision to end the classes altogether and move out of the studio. I could have changed gears and dived right into trying to produce enough product to keep paying the rent, but it wasn’t in a great part of downtown so instead I sold off as much of my stuff as I could and moved what was left back home. That was exactly two years ago.

Two Years…. 

In that time I have done little in the way of getting my business to do anything but sink further into the unknown. I’ve made a few things here and there to sell and I’ve sewn some custom pillows for people, but that’s about it. That’s not to say I’ve had nothing to do. I spent the rest of the 2015-16 school year as a full time volunteer fundraiser for our elementary school (work that I was doing before, but stepped into full force when I stopped teaching). And the, I proceeded to do the same for the following school year. Now, with both of my kids at the middle school (where I have vowed to hold back on my own volunteerism and let some other parents pick up the slack), I have some time on my hands and I am trying to motivate myself to use it. 

I have ideas, the outlines of plans, I definitely have skills. My problem is procrastination and brain fog. There are things that have slowed me down. But I have been feeling a surge of energy coming on these last few days. I am ready for some clarity and productivity to manifest. It’s time to stop letting exhaustion, fear, and grief hold me back and instead, to maximize the hours I have while the kids are at school and hanging with friends to recharge and reinvigorate my work. 

** The image above was taken on October 17, 2017 at a place my family and I call "The Little Beach." It was a favorite spot of Bear, our chocolate lab who we had to put down that afternoon after his long fight against cancer and a number of other health issues. He was 14 and The Best Dog Ever! My first baby, he was the most loyal, lovable and faithful companion a family could ask for. Somewhere out there, he is romping with a pack of labs or bathing in a patch of sun. We will miss him forever!

Bear 10:18:17.jpg
Jennifer Spilly