I am breaking away from my Celestial Star QAL posts, just so there is no confusion. I do on occasion blog about other things. ;)
yep, I made a button.
yep, I made a button.
I think a lot of us use that term, fabric-addict, quite loosely. And easily so, there is a lot of amazingly beautiful fabrics out there, and it's easy to want to own it all. But I'm not using that term in jest. I can honestly say that I am, or at one point was, a fabric addict. And I want to share my story and experience, so that if there are others who struggle, or did, or are headed down that road, you can recognize it and know that you are not alone. As well as know that not everyone just buys all the fabric out there because they can. Some of us, and probably more than we realize shouldn't, or actually don't. And realizing that can be a great strength.
But I'm not going to talk about anyone else. I'm going to talk about me. Because I can't speak for anyone else, and I don't know their situation.
It's story time, go get your comfy clothes on, find a comfy chair, and maybe some cookies and a drink.
For me it all started when I opened up my Etsy shop. My oldest was about 8 months old, so about five and a half years ago. I made toys and games for kids, and decided to make and sell quite books (which didn't happen. But that's another story. I will say that I struggled with my Etsy shop for a few years, and had good times too. But it wasn't substantially profitable.) I made my first online fabric purchase at fabric.com. It was awesome! I bought some amazing prints for super cheap! I didn't know how awesome they were until years later, all I did was shop the last chance sale section. And later when I started learning all the big name designers, I'd find one of their prints in my stash, and I'd think, wow! I'm so cool for having this print!! Lol.
Anyway, as time went on, I thought of more projects I could make, and I'd buy more fabric. My husband was working on his masters degree while working full time, and I had big dreams of working hard, coming up with amazing ideas and making lots of money! Well, I'm a big dreamer, and while I like to work hard, my ideas came faster than I could make them, as they still do, and a lot of my ideas I realized were not things I wanted to do. By this point I had bought a lot of sale fabrics from fabric.com. Not all of which was awesome, but I was excited to have a good sized stash to work with.
During this time, I had a second baby, then became pregnant with my third. While I was pregnant with her, I found the online world of modern bloggers, as well as the awesome community that was once on Flickr. This was about two and a half years ago, so three years later. Well, I just new I was having a girl! And I had found the cutest quilt made from Heather Baileys Nicey Jane, and I knew that had to be the fabric for my daughters quilt. So I bought my very first fat quarter bundle! What a day! I was elated. It was so pretty!! I couldn't wait to use it. Side note, it did make a beautiful quilt!! That I finished a year ago in November. Lol. Two years after I started it. ;)
Well, this is where it started going down hill. Doing something once makes doing the same thing a LOT easier to do again. I had found a website that would have a daily deal, and they sold scrapbooking supplies (which I don't scrapbook, but love stamps and paper and all that stuff), and then started a site for fabric and yarn. And I'll tell you, they had awesome deals on fabric!! And I will tell you, I probably kept her in business. Probably not, but I was a regular customer. I now hate those type of sites. And I don't like to use the word hate. They are awesome for a great deal, and a great deal can be a huge blessing. But let me explain my perspective, when there are limited quantities of something, and on some of these sites there is even a time frame that you have to make your purchase in. And add in that a lot of people are watching the site for new product posts, it almost becomes a race to see who can buy it first. Or, "what if don't buy it and I regret it later, and then have to pay twice this price", "I can't pass up that deal!", "I love that product! And at that price, it won't hurt anything.", "If i wait and think about it, it might be gone, so i just have to buy it now", or the classic, "if everyone else is buying it it must be awesome! So I have to have it too!" Even when you don't like it, or you don't want it, or need it, or don't even have the money for it. You buy it anyway. Those sites, I'm sure have good intentions, but it's the nature of the game, a tool to pull you in and make you feel a need and a desire to buy. And I feel it's deceiving and for the weak, it's a trap that can ruin ones life.
Anyway, it pulled me in and I was hook line and sinker. But not only did I buy fabric from that site, I'd go buy from fabric.com, and maybe a few other sites. There weren't as many online then. The UPS man and I were pretty good friends. The worst part, I would watch all day waiting for him, hoping and crossing my fingers that he would come before my husband got home from work. I would hurry and stash the big box in the laundry room, or hide the fabric somewhere. Some how my stash kept magically growing. My husband was in school, we didn't have a lot of money, life was very stressful, and I was afraid to tell him. Growing up poor but with a rich dad, i was terrified to talk about money. I don't know why. I hated the subject. Anyway, not only was I overspending our budget, I was being dishonest with my husband. I don't care what it's about, don't keep secrets from your spouse!!!!! It's wrong!!
At this point, my over-spending, my addiction to buy, my secrets, they really started to effect me physically. A few months after I had my girl, I got really really sick. I would have intense anxiety attacks, I would get faint and weak and start to black out. Once it happened in the car while I was driving. I pulled into a parking lot and sat there with all my kids until I felt like I could safely make it home. Then once at walmart while I was with my the kids, I got really sick again. I was shaky and panicking and thought I was going to blackout. I waited by the dressing rooms until my mom could come take us home. Well, that time I went to the doctor. After a few months it was diagnosed as post partum thyroiditis. I didn't drive a car for three months. Luckily my mom lived two doors away and she could come over almost daily and watch my kids while I had anxiety attacks on the couch, or tried to recover from blacking out. I was a physical emotional mess. Now I might have really had post partum thyroiditis, but in the end, it was never proven, and I really don't know.
That started in August, and I think in January I was starting to feel better. During these months I started drawing a connection, evey time I tried to by anything at all, I would start to get anxiety. I would start to get physically sick, even if I was just buying bananas. I realized that my addiction of buying things, including fabric, which I will admit had become my drug, because I was super miserable in my marriage at the time, and in life, and it became my drug. It made me feel "better". In reality it was making me sick. And I hated it! I hated that feeling, and it finally got to the point where it started to curb me from that addiction. And I got better.
Then I started selling patterns, and that was awesome, and a few years later, it's become a dream come true and a road to greater blessings! But I'm not done with my story yet.
We moved to Iowa, three and a half years after the beginning of all this, which was awesome. I loved it, and it brought with it a whole new set of problems, but also blessings. My marriage started improving, I loved my kids and they were improving and starting school, which we loved the schools there, good friends etc. Lots of good things. But I would still struggle.
For a few months I made some really large fabric purchases. I got sucked into a different trap. I now knew the big name fabric designers, and there were a lot of amazing fabric lines coming out, and no one ever reprinted any of their lines!! So it was this "buy it or lose it, or pay outrageous prices later" type thing. And I wanted the best fabrics. Well, I started having anxiety again. And it was really scary this time. My husband worked twenty miles away, the hospital looked like it was a hundred years old, and I was all alone in this small town in the middle of no where. And I was pregnant again. So one night I had the worst panic attack ever. God was going to take me from this earth if I didn't finally come clean with my husband and tell him everything. So I did. I bawled at him in the middle of the night while he was half asleep. I don't know what he got out of my crying, but he did understand at least some of it. And he understood how much I had probably spent over the years. And he didn't even get mad at me. He wasn't happy, but he didn't kill me, and neither did God.
That was the beginning of my healing, and my recovery. I still messed up, still bought fabric sometimes. But I became open with my husband about when I was struggling. I would tell him when I messed up and bought something. He became my support, instead of being afraid to tell him. He still hated it when I would mess up, but he would always forgive me!! It is SO important to have someone there to support you, and to be understanding and caring, and love you back to doing the right thing.
Now back to the pattern thing. As I started creating and selling patterns, I felt like I finally found my niche, a way I could help our income and circumstances. It also became so important to me to "pay back" everything I had spent. I had to reconcile my wrong. I think it was the beginning of this year that I finally made it to the black!!! Wahoo! It took a long time, but I felt good being even. And now instead of feeling like I was correcting my wrongs, I could feel like I was helping out. What an amazing feeling!! And it truly became a great blessing!!
Our six months in Florida was one of the greatest challenges I've ever had!! But also a huge blessing!! And exactly what we needed to become who we need to be, and who we are still striving to become. Feeling more in control of my spending, and with my patterns being more successful, I felt like I had the freedom to make business purchases, instead of fabric addict purchases. It's become a different dynamic, and it's been so much healthier and happier, and a much more peaceful feeling. And I will tell you, as I have been doing better with my spending and being honest with my husband, my health issues have been minimal and most. I know the two were connected.
So now here we are at today. Why am I telling you all of this? Although I have made huge strides. It's not over. Although our circumstances are better, we still have debt and student loans. We don't own a home, we aren't where we would like to be. And it. Is. Stressful!! At least to me. Financial stress has been one of the hardest burdens for me to bear. And before, I medicated by buying stuff. Stupidest prescription ever!! It's like giving someone with diarrhea a handful of laxatives. Sorry for the disgusting imagery. But that's exactly what it is. Disgusting. Why do we do it? I know I'm not alone in the shopping self medicated treatment. I'm not the only woman on earth, so I know I'm not the only one that struggles with that. ;) but anyway, about a month ago I felt like I finally woke up to our situation and, while it's not horrible, and we're better off that a lot of people, it has become a burden that is too heavy for me to bear. Last week, I felt like someone threw a flame to this pile of wood, and now it's on fire. I feel like I am back to square one with all my struggles. I just want to buy everything I see!! I made some business purchases to try and relieve some of the pressure, but still. It's not easy. It's not easy being stressed and burdened.
As I thought about it tonight, my current struggles, my story in the past, I thought about anyone else that is out there in the same situation. Who might feel alone, burdened, buried under a mountain of fabric and "hiding" what one really spent. I can tell you what, all those fabric shops can probably point out exactly who each one of us are, and I will be forever grateful that they don't announce my purchases!! ;) lol.
Have you noticed that I never post when I bought new fabric? Like on IG. I think it's fun to see what people buy, and I like to drool over pretty fabric. But for me, it is a real struggle to see that. If I see a lot of it, and especially when a lot of pretty collections are released all at once, it becomes a war to not dive right into a spending spree. And my heart goes out to others in that same boat. I'm not asking anyone to stop sharing, I'm not asking anything of anyone. My situation is no ones fault but my own. I own it. I take full responsibility for my own actions. But I also want to be supportive of others and not add to their own struggles, whatever they may be. I think once I wrote that I felt like a kid staring out the window, watching all the other kids play, and get ice cream from the ice cream truck, and all those favorite fun kid things. But I couldn't go out and play. And that is a hard thing for a kid. And can be a hard thing for us adults too.
The biggest strength I have found to overcome is the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I am still learning the full potential of prayer, and will probably never reach it, but I hope to get close. Prayer is powerful. The scriptures strengthen me everyday. Repentance, and making up my mistakes has been huge!! And most of all, having relationships built on trust and honesty. That has been the major key in all of this. Being able to be honest with my husband has kept me on track most of all!! And I'll add, honest with myself, and with God. And honest with my budget and finances - stay within your means.
I was recently told that I push people away, and it's true. Probably for most of my life I have. Pushed away their love, support, and help. I pushed away my husband for years as I dealt with my struggle alone. I was also told to STOP IT! STOP pushing people away. So in my efforts to let people in, I'm sharing my inner struggles right here on my blog. And I'm not afraid. Judge, criticize, agree, support, be annoyed, whatever. I am opening up my tender heart and letting you see my struggling imperfect self. Because how in the world can I ever let anyone in my life in, if I am not even honest with myself about who I am. I will probably be mortified if I find out that real people who I know if real life read this, but whatever. I guess it's all or nothing. ;)
Thanks for being patient, or not patient, with my long rambling post. I'd love to hear your comments if you have anything, experiences, helps, whatever to add. I guess another thing that has really helped is just to have the right perspective. Get rid of all the lies and misconceptions that the marketing world tries to throw at us and make us believe. That is where scriptures and prayer have really helped, to reveal the truths from the lies, and uncover all those wrong train-of-thoughts.
Alright, that's it now. Happy reading and happy sewing!!
You can read my follow up posts to this post in these places:
So Many Thoughts + Thank You! + "Nothings Allowed Pen Pals"
Shop Your Stash Weekend!!!
Nothing's Allowed PenPals +