Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

I started out 2011 as a full time stay-at-home mom and a part-time paralegal working at night and on the weekends.  One job was rewarded with never ending work, temper tantrums, hugs, and kisses.  The other job rewarded me with a paycheck!  This money was allowing us the freedom to travel to places outside of my Michigan's upper peninsula.  Don't get me wrong, the U.P. is wonderful, but sometimes it is nice to branch out.  However, in July 2011, life through me the proverbial curve ball and I was laid off.  Not a happy time and if I am being truthful, sometimes when the bills come due, I am still a little bitter.  But, losing my job gave me the opportunity to think outside my comfort zone and try something new:  Sewing, blogging, and entrepreneurship.  So, here is my year in review.  

January to July

We rang in 2011, as a family enjoying downtown Detroit.  Dinner at Pizza Papalis, dessert at Astoria, and gazing at the big Christmas tree and ice skaters at Campus Martius Park.  It was a really wonderful night!  Kevin and I travelled to Las Vegas and Boston without our children.  As a family we took many trips to the U.P. and Chicago to spend time with family.  We were also lucky enough to take trips to Spring Mill State Park and Holland, Michigan for Tulip Time!  Mimi graduated from preschool and moved on to Young Fives.  She also preformed in a dance recital.  Violet became a full fledged blabber mouth who no longer sleeps in in a toddler bed or uses a diaper.  Whoa - a big girl bed, a toilet, and big words = big year!

Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell, Indiana

Inside the Wynn, Las Vegas

Holland, Michigan

Swan Boat Rides, Boston, MA
July to December

After I got my layoff notice, my husband got this wacky idea that I was going to learn how to sew.  In August, I made my very first pillow, ever.  While it was not a horrible creation and I did brag about it a bit, it was definitely not ready for Etsy.  I practiced a lot and got the whole family involved.  My mom taught me some tricks, Kevin took photos and pushed me to work.  Mimi and Vi held pins, picked out fabric, stuffed pillows and asked a lot of questions.    
Very first pillows for Mimi and Vi!
While practicing, I made a dozen pillows for HAVEN, a domestic violence shelter.  Yes, I want to do another project like this again.  The girls learned a lot about helping others and truthfully, as a grown up, I needed a little reminding, too!

Pillows for HAVEN

Mimi helping load our car with pillows!
At the end of October, I felt I was finally making a good product, one that I was proud of and launched my Etsy store.  I even have some kid pillows for sale at June Moon Furniture Store in Berkley, MI.  I have sold 26 pillows between Etsy, custom orders, and the craft show I attended in early December.  Not bad!  My goal was to sell nine pillows a month and I have far exceeded that goal.  But, now 2012 is tomorrow and I need to have some goals.  You know I like to set goals and write lists!  Hey, I could write a blog, 715 Lists and Goals!

Candy Cane Lane Craft Show!  

Goals for 2012

I learned how to make pillows and a pair of pajama pants in 2011.  Now, I need to continue to hone my pillow making craft.  There is always room for improvement.  This year I hope to do the following:
  1. Sell my pillows at more craft shows - shall I shoot for five shows?  I think I shall!  
  2. Try my hand at pillowcase dresses.  This has been suggested by multiple people so I will do in time for spring!
  3. Continue to sell on Etsy and have a January sale.  After all, if I am going to launch new products I need to clear out the "warehouse."
  4. Learn how to make pillow covers.  This will solve my "warehouse" storage issue. 
  5. Make enough money to "help" pay for Vi's preschool.   
  6. Continue to make tooth fairy pillows.
  7. Learn how to make stuffed toys...this is a long shot but could be a ton of fun!
  8. Last but not least, continue to have a good time.  Because, if I am not having fun, then there is no point in making pillows!  
My goals are not too lofty and I tried to make them attainable.  I am sure I will adjust and add new goals as the year goes on.  But, it is important to have at least something to work towards.  I do hope you enjoyed reading about my journey in 2011.  I hope that 2012 will bring some interesting pillows and stories for this blog.  I also hope that 2012 will bring all of you joy and happiness.


  1. Yay Pillowcase dresses! can we shoot for Easter?

  2. That is my plan! I am going to the fabric store this weekend. I have a good coupon and I am hoping to stock up on fabric.