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. Kathy, So glad to hear that you are doing well & doing some creative things again. I followed your blog for a long time & always enjoyed hearing about your girls. How are they? They probably are in college! Merry Christmas & peace & happiness as you make new paths.

    View Comment
    Sandra Clarke

    December 6, 2015

  2. Your picture is beautiful. You look so relaxed. Forgot to add this to my post.

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    Sandra Clarke

    December 6, 2015

  3. Kathy,
    Thank you for sharing and letting your many, many fans in on your life. Your store was truly something special, and that ‘something’ was clearly you. Thank you.

    I know that I always marvel at those people who keep to their passion while making it their business, so I’m sad but not shocked to hear they split ways for you. And happy to hear that your next venture will be along different lines, freeing you to enjoy sewing and creating again, unhindered. Wonderful news for you, if bittersweet for us. 😉

    All the best to you in wherever life leads you next. I’ll count myself lucky if I hear of it, but if I don’t, will imagine you doing something wonderfully during the day, and creating for the joy of it in the snips of time alongside.

    View Comment
    mailergoat

    December 7, 2015

  4. Yesterday I made my first infinity scarf from your pattern. It’s a simple pattern but so obviously better than the many others I looked at. Turned out beautiful in a fabric called Bush Onion Dreaming by Jean Hudson Nampijimpa for Textiles Australia. It’s nice to hear from you again in this post. Thank you for everything and best to you in the future!

    View Comment
    Roxanne

    December 9, 2015

    • That makes me happy Roxanne – glad you enjoyed the scarf! I have quite a few !!! 🙂 xoxo K

      View Comment
      Kathy

      December 10, 2015

  5. I came over from Abby Glassenburg, interested in your next journey. It’s wonderful to read little pieces of your thoughts and journey. I also was a PC customer and wish you the very best in your future

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    Jeifner

    December 9, 2015

  6. So excited for you and your next journey. So wonderful to hear that the spark is still there, the road has just changed a little bit. It is always about enjoying the journey- I wish you the best.

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    Becky

    December 9, 2015

  7. Kathy, I clearly remember meeting you a little after we both started blogging. I remember you were unsure if you wanted to blog. You were just enjoying the process and look where it took you. It is amazing all that has transpired in the past 10 years and even though not all is happy, what a gift. There is more to come, plenty more. I am glad you started blogging, because we met. Hugs Clarice

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    clarice

    December 15, 2015

  8. I did indeed appreciate the human connection you offered when I engaged with you and Pink Chalk Fabrics, etc. I wish you peace, Kathy. I am inspired yet again by you, because I could relate to how my spark has gotten obscured by the demands of life. Some of us require that spark to be expressed to feel fulfilled, whole, and complete. I am eager to get to my modest studio and fire up again! I always loved to see your creations on your blog. I don’t know if anyone blogs anymore (I haven’t had time to surf blogs for a few years), but I for one would enjoy seeing the creations that decorate your journey… Peace, Char

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    Char

    December 15, 2015

  9. Wow. So much of what you write about is me too. A couple of months ago I was ready to pull the plug… But I just couldn’t do it. I have wondered about you. I tried to contact you a while back. What can I say burn out happens change happens and we move on. After my son was killed life was just too much. Too hard too tiring and I finally had to pull back and just coast. Then I had grandchildren-twin girls. The joy is back. And my other daughter will have a baby next years. I can smile again. Good luck Kathy. I love to hear your story. Beverly Martine. Boot camp #1

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    Beverly martine

    December 25, 2015

  10. It’s great to hear that you’re taking time for yourself, to recharge your batteries and get moving on the next phase of your life. I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since you’ve started your blog. The little cat and strawberry that you made me as part of the Back Tack swap is still sitting on my shelf next to my cutting table. Much has changed in the quilting/sewing industry since then. But I’m sure that your next venture (even though it’s not quilting related) will be awesome and successful. Congrats and good luck!

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    Tami

    December 25, 2015

  11. Congratulations Kathy on the new move to new adventures in your life.
    You generously sent me a “prize” In Sept 2011 . . the book “Sewing for Boys” . I now have 3 adorable Grandchildren and the book and patterns have been a wonderful addition to my sewing room.
    Wishing you all the best for the future . . may it be creative . . . and story making. . . and filled with new visions.

    View Comment
    Salley Govey

    January 15, 2016

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