Freestyle creative living... part 1 May 19 2016

Hey lovelies, really good to see you!

This week has been a biggie for me, I've been plucking up the courage to share an idea I've had for ages and finally on Monday I felt the moment was right to put it out there into the world. I'm guessing you all know me well enough to know that for a girl who pours her heart and soul into everything she does, this was a big deal in many ways. 

It's an idea that I've been thinking about loads for such a long time... almost 9 months to be exact, yup, it's been 9 months since I stepped away from my last 'big thing' It was Friday the 2nd October 2015... and I can honestly say not a day has gone by where I haven't thought about Make it Sewcial and how huge it had become, but still I had this overwhelming urge to walk away... to be free.. but more on that later. I hope you've popped the kettle on to make yourself a brew because this is set to be my longest and most personal blog post to date. Eek!



Now 9 months is the length of time it takes to grow a baby and whilst it may not look like I did anything quite as extraordinary as that, it certainly felt like I'd given birth on Monday when I woke up and decided that that was the day for my new idea to be born. I know, I know I'm so dramatic! But I'm a firm believer in timing and trusting the process and I've been relying on my gut to tell me when the time was right to do this. I was also waiting for that magic moment to feel brave enough to write this post, I've been carrying it around in my head for months, I'm sure I'm feeling a little lighter already :)

So I'm going to take you back a little first... Make it Sewcial had become such a huge part of my life, in fact sometimes it felt like it 'was' my life, I was giving more time, attention and energy to the community I had created than anything else and the bigger it became the more it needed from me. For two whole years I was happy giving it everything I had, starting on a Monday morning at 7.30am sharing the first post on Instagram to encourage my followers to get creative, to craft, make, bake, stitch, carve, build, knit and to produce something with their hands. Then I would make something too and share it on my blog as a tutorial, whilst stopping every few minutes throughout the day to like and answer every single post and comment that pinged up on my phone! I was on a mission to make everyone feel good about sharing their creations. 

This would continue right through to the early evening, when I would host the community chat session - it should have happened between 9 and 10pm, but oh no, I would take my phone to bed with me and keep on replying to EVERYTHING until the early hours of the morning, long after Mr C had gone to sleep beside me. And then I would wake up the next morning, check my notifications and so it would begin all over again! And it didn't stop there, my inbox was alive with email after email coming my way and yes, I would spend hours answering them all in depth, they were all important to me and I wanted to give them all valuable feedback.

Then I would finish up on a Friday with a carefully curated weekly round up of makes and finally a Maker of the week interview and blog feature. Ahh man, I honestly don't know how I squeezed it all in around running my own business, a busy shop, hosting workshops, writing editorials for magazines, mentoring and taking care of my family, oh and trying to find some time for me and Mr C too! I feel like I need to lie down in a darkened room just thinking about it now! Phew!

After two years of doing all of that it was no wonder I felt a little burnt out, I had no energy left for me and the other things in my life... crafting was just a teeny tiny part of what I did, a hobby really, yet it had completely taken over and become my world. I had created something so big, it was shaping me as a person and my days no longer felt like my own. And while I loved it passionately and adored the community, I was starting to feel trapped. I wanted to break free. I was drowning in crochet (did I just say that!) I mean I like crochet, but just not for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please forgive me crochet lovers! Your work is truly amazing! 

It was at this point that I had a big decision to make, I could take this thing forward and run with all the ideas I had in-store and there were heaps, craft kits, meet ups, workshops, a book, I even won an award for my contribution towards the handmade community, which I almost felt I should have handed back because I had decided to change direction. I felt torn and emotional for weeks because I knew the community I had created needed me. What would they do without me?... who would encourage and motivate them to get creative?... I owed it to everyone to keep on giving. I felt under pressure to keep on nurturing and growing this wonderful and amazing thing! I was consumed by it. 

It could have become my full time work, I could have 'monetised it' (so people kept on telling me) but that was never my intention. I gave up my time and energy because I wanted to, because I loved doing it and I could see the difference it was making to peoples lives and this filled my heart up and made me feel like the happiest girl. It never put any pennies in the bank but I didn't care... I was doing good stuff in the world and that was all that mattered. 

The day I made the announcement that I was taking a break, was tough. I think I cried for about 48 hours solid. And then I cried every Monday morning after that for about a month, I was missing my Make it Sewcial thing big time. I wondered if I'd done the right thing, would people understand, would they still like me now I'd fessed up about the crochet! What was I going to do next, I had no idea, well I kind of did deep down inside. I just needed time to get my mojo back. 

My creative heart was starting to feel the change coming too... it happens. I build something, I make it magnificent, I pour my all into it and then I'm ready for the next part of the journey. It's the way my head works and I'm happy to go with it. The ideas keep on coming and when the time is right I'm ready to embrace them. As a creative, this is all part of natural growth and progress and for me personally, my wellbeing and happiness, rely on me changing things up every now and then... plus I actually might go mad if I ever stood still for too long! Can you imagine! Not sure Mr C would know what to do with me either! Ha! 

So' I made the brave decision to step away from Make it Sewcial, knowing in my heart there was no going back. Friendships had been forged, new businesses started, and life long connections had been made. Right now the community is still active and growing stronger every day and there have been over 30 thousand handmade projects shared worldwide to date. Sometimes I have to stop and remember what an incredible thing I started there... and yes it survived without it's crafty mama! 

Ok. so enough about the past... what about the future and the next part of the journey. 

Well it's not Make it Sewcial shaped and I wouldn't want it to be because that would be going backwards and I want us to go forward together and whilst my love of crafting and making will obviously always be there, I wanted to create something focused on lifestyle something that embraces creative living as a whole. That's how I live, after all, so it makes perfect sense to move forward in that direction. 

Freestyle creative living is about having the freedom to do just that... to create the life you love, your way. Sounds pretty gorgeous doesn't it?! I hope you like it as much as me. 

If you want to find out more, then head back to my blog soon to read part 2, I'm looking forward to sharing the philosophy behind the new hashtag. Oh and don't forget to share your creative lifestyle pics over on IG too, the new gallery is filling up nicely already! Result. 

Big love for now lovelies 

Allison x