Friday , 23 August 2019

The Little Engine That Could

One of my first childhood memories is my mom reading “The Little Engine That Could” to me at bedtime, me begging her to read it “just one more time”.  And she did.  Even then, the power of positive thinking amazed me.  I was raised with the knowledge that I could do anything that I set my mind to.  Unfortunately, there were quite a few bad spots as a teenager and young adult when I put that into action when I shouldn’t have.  I’m thinking they should have taught me a little bit more about submission to authority.  But now, pushing 34, I have leveled off and have got my focus on using the power of positive thinking on positive ideas!

My time in the corporate world proved successful but lacking.  My mind abounded with great ideas but often times they were met with resistance because the older generation wasn’t ready to take the technological steps that needed to be taken.  I was always limited to someone else’s idea of success for my life.  I was great at the various jobs I held (and well paid) but unhappy.  I wanted to be home with my family.  I wanted to stay home on rainy days.  I wanted to stay home on sunny days.  I just wanted to be home!

Three years ago I was able to realize my dreams and become a stay at home mom.  For a little while, I had income still arriving in my mailbox.  But after the piggy bank ran out, the worrying set in.  Thankfully, we are debt-free except for our small mortgage.  My husband is a state employee with great benefits, not so great pay.  I have learned a lot about living frugally the last two years.  My husband amazes our friends with my penny-pinching abilities.  Hey, I even amaze myself sometimes!  However, a girl can only do so much.  I need a tooth filled (did you know fillings don’t last forever?).  I need a brow wax.  And, yes, that is a need!  I need to have some mad money every now and then.  You know you’re broke when you can’t even shop at Goodwill.

I decided I wanted to learn to sew.  Out of the blue, someone gave me a sewing machine.  It is quite the vintage item, but runs like a dream.  I said I really wanted a serger.  Someone else gave me a serger.  Three someone elses gave me bolts upon bolts of new, uncut fabric.  So I began to sew.  If you need a sewing machine threaded, I’m your girl.   Want to hear a lecture about the importance of removing the needle before you wind your bobbin?  Chat me up.  Granted, I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve come along way, baby!

Along the way, money was a constant worry.  We had just enough money to pay all of our necessaries but no extra.  Peter and Paul can tell you all about it.  We needed tires.  It had to come out of the house payment.  Taxes came due.  We couldn’t pay them.  It was getting scary, folks.  In the summer of 2010, I started cleaning houses.  (Insert joke about mechanic with broke-down car here.)  I would put my 3-year-old in a Mother’s Day Out program in town, leave my 8-year-old with a friend, and go clean houses.  The money was great, but since I homeschool, this was not an option anymore after school started back.  What to do?

Just like the sewing machine, serger, and countless other things that had fallen in place, I opened my Woman’s Day October 1, 2010 issue to find Mary Hunt’s Article “Make Money Online”.  Etsy.  Hmmm.  I had ran across Etsy before, checking out some of my personal vintage collection, seeing how much other people were buying these items for.  As with so many other times in my life, I could hear that voice in my head saying, “You can do that, and do it better!”  I got online and checked it out.  It seemed rather painless to get started.  But what would I sell?  I tried toddler skirts.  However, against the myriad of options from other sellers, my three skirts were lost in the black hole of the Internet.  I greased my gears.  Turning, turning, turning….  Cord covers!  I checked to see how many others were selling these.  Just one.  And she was dealing in satin.  Mine are cotton/polyester.  I was in!  (Etsy etiquette is one more blog I’ve got coming together.)

Oh, the mistakes I made!  I would say, “Well, I won’t make that mistake again”, only to make that same mistake on the next one.  My personal mantra: measure twice, cut once.  And start out with the low heat setting on your iron.  I have to stop there and make mental notes for my next blog post.  My mistakes don’t just benefit me.

I have since added items from my personal vintage collection.  Parting is such sweet sorrow, because I hand selected each piece specifically for my home based on my love of colors and uniqueness.  However, there are times in your life when personal sacrifice must be made, and starting a business is one of those times.  But I’m not letting go of the goose decanter.  She’s oh so kitschy!

It’s just been three months, but I am so thrilled at the progress I have made.  My photography skills are so amazing, I really think I could sell some of my prop photos.  I mean, just go look at my shop.  I log on during the day just to look at it.  Again, another blog idea.  Am I limited on the number of posts I can do each week?

My vintage sewing machine and my new batch of ivory fabric is waiting.  Thankfully, I have orders to fill, both for my Etsy shop, and my local business arena.  (Yet another post in the making!)

And she went merrily on her way, singing:

“I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I thought i could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could I thought I could –”


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  1. Thanks baby girl! An awesome read for sure. Made me get all teary eyed! Love you so much and am so proud of you! I always knew you could:). Mom:)

  2. Oh this was a great read! Your shop is beautiful, the item pics do look like something to hang on the wall.
    Great job- I also was raised on “The Little Engine that Could”. :)
    I think your next venture should definitely involve writing!

  3. Amazing job! I am so proud of you! I got all teary eyed too :). You were always so ‘artsy’. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  4. You are mistaken about how many cord cover sellers there were on etsy. Over the summer I was searching for cord covers & noticed there were at least 3 sellers. I see that you did not join until November. Now there are about 6 cord cover sellers on etsy.
    Anyway good luck with your shop.

    • I have noticed that the number fluctuates, but at the time I first looked there was just one that seemed to actually be doing any dedicated cord cover business. I am really excited about my business, and just put my best foot forward in every aspect of it. Hard work and good business sense have always paid off for me. I hope this time isn’t any different.

      Thanks for the well wishes and may you be blessed in your endeavors.

  5. What a lovely story! I have visited your Etsy store and, you’re right, the photos are really nice. You’ve made a great start in so little time! Continued good luck to you.

  6. We weren’t sure what to expect, but I have to say that we loved it! The movie is bright, colorful and FUN! The animation is surprisingly good, and the voice acting top-notch. Usually, movies for younger kids can drag, but this one moved along at a perfect pace, keeping all the kids in the audience enthralled. And I was pleasantly surprised at how FUNNY it was, keeping the adults entertained, too. The filmmakers really did a nice job of making sure all ages can enjoy this.

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