A New Chapter

on Dec 4, 2015 in Musings | 70 comments

Does anyone still blog? As I sat down to write this post I checked my archive and noted that my first post was written on March 10, 2006. 10 years? Wow. What an adventure this has been. I had dinner with a good friend last night and on the way to the restaurant he said “I never imagined this is where I would be in my life.”

I’ve been intending to put my thoughts into writing all year. As I woke this morning I had one of those significant intuitive rushes of thought that pushed me out of bed at 4:30 am and a clear understanding of what I needed to do next. I’m not quite sure where to begin this story and whether it will make any sense once I’m done. The words are ready to flow so I will begin:

– It’s taken a full year to be ready to let go of Pink Chalk Fabrics. As savvy a business person as I am, I blew it on the exit strategy. That needs a post all its own. I was so emotionally connected to what I created it overshadowed my judgment and slowed my ability to take any action. I’m a very decisive person. I have the ability to assess a scenario quickly, choose a course of action, and then execute. Was I able to do that in letting go of the business? Nope. Those qualities were no where in sight! I just could not let go. I circled around and around about keeping the brand, keeping the downloadable pattern component, holding on to some version of the business. Goodness.

That debate is now over. I would like to sell the Pink Chalk Fabrics brand, the website domain name, the social media components (with the exception of the blog). I will continue to publish my designs as Pink Chalk Studio.

– I had a significant inner shift in February. I volunteered for a week as part of the Crew for QuiltCon 2015. Being on the crew meant 7 straight days of working morning till night helping with all aspects of putting on the conference. I experienced a multitude of encounters with friends, customers, blog readers, designers, and industry colleagues. Each conversation was a moment of real connection. I savored each opportunity to be fully present with someone who was sharing with me how Pink Chalk influenced their journey.

On Saturday night the women from Gee’s Bend did the conference keynote. They began the session with a song titled “Don’t Bring Me Flowers When I’m Gone”. I searched for the lyrics but didn’t find what I recalled as being the exact version they sang. The essence of the song is to let people know how much they mean to you while they’re living, not when we’re dead!

On the final day of the leadership conference Susanne Woods and I did the final run to the bank. I was sharing with Susanne how touched I was by so many people sharing with me their Pink Chalk stories. Susanne turned to me and said “They brought you flowers.” It was one of those goosebump moments. I had an illuminated understanding of what Pink Chalk was about. It was about the journey. It was about all of those small moments of sharing something from my heart that touched another person. The physical business itself was just a vehicle. It did not have any meaning as an end in itself.

That shift in understanding was monumental for me. It allowed me to appreciate what I had created. To understand that what really mattered were all the moments where a connection had been made with another human being. All of the things that mattered still existed. They were not tied to whether Pink Chalk Fabrics continued or not. That shift in consciousness has given me peace of mind and a sense of authentic accomplishment. I’m unbelievably proud and grateful of having been a part of something so beautiful.

– I continued to flounder with figuring out what was next for me. I’ve always worked or had some type of scheme going. Even when I was a ‘stay at home mom’ I wasn’t really staying put. I was always scheming on some type of business idea. That’s how Pink Chalk Studio started. So to be at a place where I did not have a clear vision of what was next for me was extremely frustrating. My focus was on looking for a job with the skills I had acquired over my 25 years of accounting, software development and ecommerce entrepreneurship experience. I’ve had interviews. I’ve networked my ass off. I’ve had great conversations with friends and old colleagues about life, balance, career, purpose, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.

And now it’s December, 2015. A full year after I stopped selling fabric.

A friend called me in May and had a short term project opportunity to work as a bookkeeper for a bowling alley and skating rink. The person doing the job had left with short notice after being there 7 years. I slept on it and then took the job the next day. I had a blast working there. It got me out of my self and back into the stream. In September, as that job completed I landed in a very similar role for an events company in SODO (South Seattle). As that job wraps up this month I am again at a crossroads on where I go next. I’m realizing I am an entrepreneur at heart. I’m thinking I have another business in me and have begun taking steps toward making that a reality. No. It will not be in the sewing/quilting industry! And yes, I will have a partner. I have no interest in running a business by myself again.

– I have gone through major personal changes throughout this process. My marriage of 21 years ended in December of 2012. The divorce final a year later. That was a rough two year run, let me tell you!!! I’ve done a lot of personal work since then that has led to a place of peace within myself. A journey of healing, of finding a spiritual center and a genuine happiness in being. It took me 53 years to get here but I’ve arrived! Whew.

– Creative mojo restored and fully operational! Somewhere along the Pink Chalk Fabrics timeline I lost my creative spark. It got sidelined as all thoughts turned to running the business, monitoring cash flow, and strategizing for growth. When I attempted to get back to the sewing room I was empty. No inspiration. No creative ideas. I thought maybe my window had come and gone. Maybe I was a one hit wonder. A few good ideas and done. It was devastating to feel that way. Something so precious and meaningful lost.

I attended a Jean Wells class in Sisters, Oregon last November. It was the seed. Jean’s generous and open hearted teaching style struck something deep inside me that got the engines fired. I took what I’d started in the class and during a Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild retreat in January of this year I pushed the project through to that moment of knowing I’d created something big. It was late Saturday afternoon and as I stepped back and looked at what I’d created I knew I hadn’t lost anything. It was waiting for me to return. It was extremely moving to experience that feeling of creative flow. My creative spark was re-lit that day.

I am enjoying creating privately and in the company of my local MQG. I have put pattern writing on hold for the moment. It feels good to just create for myself. To design and stitch with no agenda.

***

So, this feels really good to be back and write out my thoughts. It may be another year before I return. Who knows. I’m going to continue on the trail and see where it leads. I wish each of you peace, love, contentment, joy and happiness.

xoxo
Kathy

    70 Comments

  1. It’s so great to hear from you and read your entry. All the best as you move forward!

    View Comment
    Kathy

    December 4, 2015

  2. Thank you for your wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your journey. Yes I got the tingling feelings too when I heard your aha moment! Wish you the best!

    View Comment
    LonnieMoo

    December 4, 2015

  3. It is SO good to hear your voice and a little behind-the-scenes. Lucky for us to get to see a year in your rear-view mirror, where it looks so simple and straightforward. And lucky for us to get to know you.

    View Comment
    Daphne

    December 4, 2015

  4. What a wonderful story you are able to tell!! I wish you many blessings on your journey and hope the sun continues to warm your soul during the experience.

    View Comment
    Sherry B in Sacramento

    December 4, 2015

  5. Kathy it is so good to hear that your journey is progressing in such a positive manner now. I have revered your work and knowledge for a long time and am happy that you are finding solace and personal happiness. Keep creating for yourself and hopefully for others in the future. I have truly missed Pink Chalk Fabrics and the fun things you did but understand how “things” can happen to get in the way. I hope you are very successful in the sale of the company name and that it goes to someone who fully understand the responsibility of taking over where you left off. Hugs to you!

    View Comment
    Debbie Maddy

    December 4, 2015

  6. Best wishes as you continue your journey! I hope our paths cross again.

    View Comment
    Debbie Grifka

    December 4, 2015

  7. So fun to see your beautiful face. Having been through one of those ” creative dark nights of the soul”…….it is truly an appreciated gift when found once again. Funny, when the wait is over, your appreciation for the friendships, your awareness of how much they held you up, and, hopefully, and visa/versa……it all is very powerful in retrospect. Keep on the happiness trail. Hugs!

    View Comment
    Maureen Harrah

    December 4, 2015

  8. I could never come to grips as to why someone could close a successful business, not to mention the sadness that I felt losing another sewing store. I very rarely read personal blogs, but yours caught my attention as I had wondered what happened. Now, I know and completely understand. I admire your courage and honesty. I wish you great happiness and hope your journey of finding yourself brings you peace. Take care.

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    Cathy

    December 4, 2015

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey to understanding. From change comes new beginnings and often, new insights. I miss PCF, but have taken steps to start using my fabric stash with a passion (not a vengeance). I think of you every time I unwrap a package. Take good care Kathy!

    View Comment
    Martha

    December 4, 2015

  10. Dear Kathy, I love you dearly, and I’m so glad to hear that you are happy & well. I feel like my story echoes your own in so many ways, as I read your words, I kept thinking, “yes, someone else is going through this too”. Pink Chalk was so great, I hope someone special will give it a new life. Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure!!!

    View Comment
    Cherri House

    December 4, 2015

  11. Thank you so much for your honesty about your journey! I’m happy to know that you have found some peace and closure.

    View Comment
    Elizabeth Sewell

    December 4, 2015

  12. Thank you for honoring us with your story. We will be there to share in the joys of the future.

    View Comment
    Beth T.

    December 4, 2015

  13. Wishing you a wonderul new journey, Kathy. I have enjoyed your site, patterns & tutorials. Enjoy!

    View Comment
    Janine G Allen

    December 4, 2015

  14. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It is reassuring to know others have similar experiences.

    View Comment
    Cathy

    December 4, 2015

  15. I loved reading this Kathy. I’m so happy that you are in a happy place. You are someone I have always respected tremendously in this industry. I’m so happy that your creative spark is back. (I hear you on the business side of things sucking that creativity away. I could completely relate. Thank you for being you and for sharing. Best wishes!

    View Comment
    Amy Smart

    December 4, 2015

  16. I’m so happy to read this and to learn more about your journey. After being a customer of Pink Chalk quite a few times, this is what stands out to me the most. I was up in the mountains above Fresno working on a quilt with a deadline. I needed a certain fabric and I emailed you. You must have sensed my desperation because you said you were putting my order at the front of the line and it was there waiting for me when I arrived home and I was able to meet my deadline. I always appreciated your excellent customer service. I wish you the best in your endeavors. Hope to see you at QuiltCon!

    View Comment
    Cindy-Live a Colorful Life

    December 4, 2015

    • Yes, I will be on the crew again at QuiltCon 2016. Please look for me!

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 5, 2015

  17. Dear Kathy,
    I wish you every success as you move forward with the new road you will travel.
    Best wishes,
    Lindsay
    Switzerland

    View Comment
    Lindsay Cash

    December 4, 2015

  18. I enjoyed reading your heartfelt sentiments about running your business and letting it go. You are a treasure, Kathy. I miss your store immensely. All the best to you in your new endeavors.

    View Comment
    Lori W

    December 4, 2015

  19. So good to hear from you Kathy.
    I have a piece of modern fabric that was the first I ever owned. I won it on your blog and though I used part of it, I keep the rest and wonder how you are doing ever time I handle it.

    View Comment
    Mary on Lake Pulaski

    December 4, 2015

    • We’ve known each other quite a few years haven’t we Mary! So good to see your name here. Thank you for the lovely comment. xoxo K

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 5, 2015

  20. From time to time, I wonder what your journey has been since closing my favorite online shop. Wishing you all the best!

    View Comment
    Barbara

    December 4, 2015

  21. Mahalo Kathy,
    I needed to read this ….today was the day I needed to read this.
    I too am going through life changing, altering spaces in my brain/way of looking at the world and I felt alone. Its a relief to hear about your journey. My knees feel wobbly some days…but like you…I shall get through this.
    That photo of you smiling at the mountain says it all. You made it. Blessings on your future.
    Aloha,
    Elizabeth

    View Comment
    Elizabeth Elliott on Maui

    December 4, 2015

  22. All the very best to you as you travel down this next path in your life. Hated to say goodbye to your wonderful website, but it’s more important that you exercise that God-given talent!

    View Comment
    Susan Foster

    December 4, 2015

  23. Thank you for your honestly. It was a fresh part of my day. Knowing you are working though struggles and on yourself gives encouragement to others who may be ignoring the voices in their head. Happy trails.

    View Comment
    Becky Campbell

    December 4, 2015

  24. Thank you for sharing so much, and I’ll be cheering you on from TX!!

    View Comment
    H. Georg

    December 4, 2015

  25. Thank you, Kathy, for the many years of inspiration, fabulous fabrics, and great patterns and ideas. Your support of Storey–through the One-Yard Wonders Sewalong–was transformative for us at Storey in helping to bring that book to so many people. The creative joy and activity you’ve helped spread will endure for a long, long time!

    View Comment
    Deborah Balmuth

    December 4, 2015

    • Hi Deborah – funny email two days ago. Someone came across one of the One Yard Wonders projects on the Pink Chalk Pinterest page. She contacted me wanting to know where she could get the pattern.

      I responded with a link to the book on Amazon and then a link on the blog where all the projects that year were catalogued and linked to. My goodness! What a crazy idea that was!!! Looking at that page brought a HUGE smile to my face.

      xoxo K

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 5, 2015

  26. Kathy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings now, and for all the the support and inspiration (and fabric) in the past.

    One train of thought going through me these days is along these lines. I come from a family of medical professionals. They’ve saved and brought into the world literally thousands of lives. For a long time I felt like I was making a pretty paltry contribution to society in comparison. But, as you say, this is about making true connections and inspiring. Every time I see a student get excited, a quilt someone made from one of my patterns bring joy, or someone just be so damn happy to sew I’ve realized that I’ve made a difference. We’re all bringing each other flowers.

    I look forward to following along on your journey. Best of luck.

    View Comment
    Cheryl Arkison

    December 4, 2015

    • Beautiful note Cheryl – thank you! Yes! Yes! Yes! One thing I really came to know in my heart over the years is how sacred our creative expressions are. For women, especially, it is a safe haven from all the chaos, responsibility and stresses many of us experience. So good to hear from you and look forward to seeing you at QuiltCon!!! xoxo K

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 5, 2015

  27. Kathy, I wish you blessings as you begin your next journey. I’m a 66 yr-old wife, mom, and grandmother and happy in those roles. But I wish I had been more adventurous through life. Good for you that you seem on the right path!

    View Comment
    Diane

    December 4, 2015

  28. Good luck to you as you move forward! I wish you all the joy, peace and contentment you have worked so hard for!

    View Comment
    Peggy Looby

    December 4, 2015

  29. I once read a wise eastern saying about relationships:

    If a relationship comes to an end, one should try to be thankful that is was there, for what the other person gave to you, and let him or her go his or her own way without resentments.

    At that time, I was only in my late teens, but it impressed me deeply. I love the idea of thinking, acting, reacting like this.

    It sound to me like you are able to do this with Pink Chalk now.
    I was on Bainbridge Island for the first time this summer, and I was very sad that your store closed before, I would have loved to see it.
    Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration you gave to the sewing community.
    Good luck on your way!

    View Comment
    Tina

    December 4, 2015

  30. Have thought of you often during this year, just based on what you had written before.

    How wonderful for you to have courage.

    I wish you well in all that is to come.

    Sincerely,

    View Comment
    Barbara Young

    December 4, 2015

  31. I wish you much happiness on your next journey. I like that, “They gave you flowers.” May you receive MANY more flowers.

    But, I must say, drat! You have reminded me of those kits I bought from you and have not yet made! I’ll have to dig them out!

    Very best wishes from southern California.

    View Comment
    JoAnne T.

    December 4, 2015

  32. Wishing you the best of everything as you continue your journey. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

    View Comment
    Patti McGarry

    December 4, 2015

  33. Something happens at or around 50. It just does. I scoffed at this when my husband said it (he’s 2.5 years older than I) but it IS true. Maybe it is the sobering aspect that you are not going to live forever; in fact your life is half (or more) over. So LIVE. I am so glad you are creating and doing it privately for you, no agenda. You reminded me I have a “Sunset” (I think?) run of Kona solids from you I have done nothing with! Thank you for all you did for us; so glad I am on your mailing list. 🙂

    View Comment
    Sandra

    December 4, 2015

  34. hi Kathy! So glad to hear you are well, and your mojo is back! I can’t wait to see what you are up to next, and wish you all the best! Xo-Amy

    View Comment
    Amy Ellis

    December 4, 2015

  35. You are a great blogger! I have always enjoyed your patterns and made some for wedding gifts!
    You definitely have a designers talent- don’t forget to use it now and then! I will miss your website! It is one of a very few I signed up for- you are to be commended to know what the public wanted.

    View Comment
    Bonnie D

    December 4, 2015

  36. I fully enjoyed reading this post..I too had a fabric shop for several years. Sewing, FABRIC, thread, patterns, EVERYTHING SEWING was what I loved most in life. I can remember sewing (before the fabric shop) and I swear it was a high, as i was at the end stretch of a project I swear I felt myself turn into a unicorn as the very last stitch was being sewn!!!!! It was pure joy!!! Magical!!!! Something changed once I had my very own fabric shop. The magic was gone, I didn’t enjoy sewing anymore. I got so sick of looking at fabric, the thing I used to love the most in life. I finally stopped ordering wholesale and just let the shop die on its own. I’m back to sewing and drooling over fabric again! The saying “Do what you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life” didn’t apply to me.

    View Comment
    Jennie

    December 4, 2015

  37. Thank you for sharing your story, it resonates well with me. Wishing you many Blessings as you continue on your journey. 🙂

    View Comment
    Diana

    December 4, 2015

  38. So good to hear from you and find out what you’re up to! Enjoy the next phase of your journey. 🙂 Hugs.

    View Comment
    Cindy

    December 4, 2015

  39. Shall never forget the prompt reply my email regarding one of your patterns. The pattern set me on a new path, of looking at traditional patterns in a new way, which has led me to more modern quilting.

    I hope in time you will create more patterns.

    Enjoy the journey along the road ahead.

    Cheers from down under! Tanis

    View Comment
    Tanis Dickson

    December 4, 2015

  40. I wish You the Very Best in whatever you do. I have enjoyed you & your company for some years. You are missed.

    View Comment
    Terry H.

    December 4, 2015

  41. thank you so much for sharing how you have been! i must first admit that i miss your shop a ton. i do. but i am so happy to hear about what you have been doing in the past year and how you have move on and the whole process of it. so curious to hear about what you have on the burner! 🙂 a big hug to you!!! and thank you again for popping up in my e-mail in-box that got me to this post!

    View Comment
    shannon

    December 4, 2015

  42. Kathy…..I came to Pink Chalk late in the game. I come away so uplifted and hopeful after talking to you or reading your words. You are so full of Truth and Talent, and your strength encourages those of us with meeker personalities. God Speed on your new awakening and return to your inner peace!

    View Comment
    Sharron

    December 4, 2015

  43. Glad life is going so well. Sometimes it works out great, sounds like for you and it has done just that. I wish you lots of good fortune! You inspired me for years!

    View Comment
    Lisa Johnson@gmail.com

    December 4, 2015

  44. I have admired your honesty and energy since I first discovered your blog many years ago. Thank you for sharing more of your story.

    PS there’s a typo, or some kind of subconscious message, saying that it is December 2016!

    View Comment
    Cynthia

    December 4, 2015

  45. Hey friend,
    It’s so nice to hear from you. Seems like you reached a good place in your life. Letting go is a liberating process indeed.
    Please do keep surprising us with news 🙂
    Bonne chance !
    From Paris.
    Deby

    View Comment
    Deby

    December 5, 2015

  46. It was great to hear of your journey. I introduced myself to you at Quiltcon 2013. Much as I miss your shop, your enthusiasm and your talent, I’m happy to know you’re in a good place. Hope we’ll be reading more about your new ventures in the New Year.
    Susy

    View Comment
    Susy

    December 5, 2015

  47. Dear Kathy, my heart skipped a beat when I saw Pink Chalk in my inbox again. Although we’ve never met I feel like a long-lost friend re-connected with me. I appreciate your journey. You are so brave and courageous to share so much. Good luck to you. I hope you’ll let us know where you land.

    View Comment
    Jo Ann Moulds

    December 6, 2015

    • Hey Jo Ann – good to see your name pop up! It is a good feeling !!! Thank you for being a friend from the very, very start. Love to you – Kathy

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 10, 2015

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