One of my favorite things is hearing how people are enjoying my embroidery kits and patterns and using them to carve out some self-care time for themselves. It's my passion to help give busy women tools for slowing down and refueling in their daily lives. Today I'm sharing a guest post by Teresa Chen, a stay-a-home-mom of two little ones who recently used the Herbal Tea pattern to create a beautiful gift for her in-laws.
“Are you sure you want to take that on?”
That was my husband’s concerned response to my suggestion that I give our parents a homemade embroidered pillow for Christmas. It was an entirely reasonable question considering that he is used to having clean laundry sitting in the dryer for two days before I find time to fold it, a pile of unopened mail on the kitchen desk, and complaints that I “never have enough time for anything”. Life sure is different now that we have little ones scurrying around the house, and I wish I had appreciated before I became a parent how much freedom I’d had to set my own schedule.
I’m not sure if I was more motivated by my desire to make an embroidered pillow, or by my utter lack of gift ideas this Christmas, but, for better or for worse, I was determined to give that homemade embroidered pillow a shot (reserving the right to toss the whole idea and go to the mall for a gift if it didn’t work out!).
The first evening I sat down to work, I gritted my teeth and gave my embroidery hoop, floss and needle an “I will conquer you” glare. My plan was to crank out as many stitches as possible as quickly as possible to guarantee the success of my gift. But slowly as I worked, the muscles in my hand relaxed and my clenched jaw eased into a smile: I was enjoying this! I mean, REALLY enjoying it. It was relaxing. It was fun. It refreshed me. It gave me a sense of accomplishment as the stitches took on shape and became beautiful.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this type of activity. The type that is slow and meditative, that forces a less frenzied pace, that lends itself to prayer and meditation, that begs for an accompanying mug of something warm and comforting while soft music plays. Had it really been that long since I’d given myself time like this? It had!
What started out as a gift for someone else had become a gift to me.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, really, considering I knew the artist that designed the embroidery pattern. I was there when Beth Colletti’s overcommitted, overstressed, overworked world collapsed and sent her into a self-imposed sabbatical. I saw her step back from that lifestyle and learn how to rest and replenish. Then I saw a passion to help other people find this place of peace in their own lives rise up in her. The journey to discovering rest was born out of necessity, but became a calling, and now here she is, gently pleading for you to deliberately slow down, revel in the quiet beauty of the everyday, and remember that you were created to work - but then to rest.
She makes it easy, too: when I decided that I wanted to take on that homemade pillow gift, I called her up and said, “Beth, I need to be able to just pick up the needle and start stitching. If I have to drive to the craft store for embroidery floss or trace a pattern onto the fabric, I’ll never get started.” Two days later, Beth showed up at my house with an embroidery hoop, patterned fabric, needle, all the floss I’ll need and simple instructions. She showed me how to watch the videos on her blog that demo all the stitches so I don’t have to figure out how to do them myself. She told me how to thread my needle, erase the pattern when my stitching is done, and iron my embroidery properly. Like I said, she makes it easy.
You might not get Beth on your doorstep (that’s my privilege because she’s my friend and my sister), but you can get the same easy start-up with one of her stitch kits. Everything you need to get started -- a perfect solution for stopping the busyness and starting the restfulness quickly. It’s like getting a big scoop of refreshment disguised as a project kit.
And that pillow? Well, I finished it -- drumroll, please -- in less than two weeks (in the midst of mothering two littles and preparing for holidays)! That included all the stitching AND all the sewing. The best part is that I loved the journey as much as I loved the finished product. In fact, I may just have to make another one…