Oh, busy days! Andy has had four days in a row off so I've been flailing around in the studio trying to get my new animals and their stuff pulled together. Many, many, many, oh most pictures I've taken this week have looked thrillingly like this:
Oh, and this:
And far too few have looked adorably like this:
MWAH. MWAH. MWAH. Eskimo kiss.
Well, it's one of those weeks. Time to make the doughnuts. I get up and showered as early as possible. I'm combed and coffeed by 7:00 a.m. most days. It's still dark outside then, but each time I look up from the work the sky is glowing a lighter shade of ultraviolet. There are four new animal kits (and patterns) in the works: Juniper Kitty, Dandelion Doe, Phyllis Mouse, and Basil Fox. The girls each have new dresses in two new Liberty fabrics, new boots, and new knitwear (cowl, kerchief, and legwarmers). The boy has a gingham shirt (in four color options), jeans, boots, and a scarf. There's also a separate kit/pattern for a hooded duffle coat, jeans, striped sweater, and a different scarf. And a pattern for the minty bed, and a kit/pattern for a nightgown, and all of the bedding. When I write it all out like that, I can see it's a lot. I've ordered nineteen different fabrics from seven different distributors or manufacturers, and thirteen different colors of felt from one. One hundred and eighteen cones of floss in thirty-seven different colors. Eleven thousand gray mini buttons. Twelve hundred 3/8" snaps. Two hundred and ten cones of sport-weight yarn. Sixteen different colors for that. Oh, and there's a teddy bear. I forgot about the teddy bear. Make that fourteen colors of felt.
It's both exhiliarating and terrifying. I've been making kits for a long time now, and I love it. I do truly love it. Of all of the things I've done in the past fourteen years of having a business, this has been the best for me, and the thing most suited to my abilities and interests. Certain things that I've done were so ill-suited to my abilities and interests (owning a shop, for one; I really have no words to say how miserable that made me) that when I get stressed out about these kits, I just remember how much I hated those things. But this part, this part where I'm figuring, and measuring, and ordering, and simultaneously designing, oh lord. It stretches me out flat. I burble and stagger. At night I sit like a zombie, watching my Alaska shows: Alaska: The Last Frontier. Buying Alaska. Coast Guard Alaska. Alaska Fish Wars. Railroad Alaska. Ultimate Survival Alaska. None of us can figure out exactly why I am, apparently, obsessed with Alaska. I don't even think I am actually obsessed with Alaska. (I also don't seem to be able to tear my eyes away from House Hunters International, though I have absolutely zero plans to ever move from this house.) Baby Mimi goes to bed between six and seven p.m., and oh, my goodness, that girl is a good sleeper (and is, once again, sleeping through the night, no problem). Isn't it just kind of a great moment when, after ordering fabric all day and being told that they have bolts that they don't actually have when it comes time to ship, and that four of the prints you've wanted are discontinued, and you'll have to pick other things even though you already have ordered several other things that go with those original things that you can't get, so you'll have to spend hours desperately scouring the internet to get those things somewhere else or give up and pick other things, isn't it sooooo just kind of a great moment when at seven p.m., after you've put your babylove to bed and put on your nightgown and taken out your contacts and brushed your teeth, you come back downstairs and pick up your knitting and then you get to watch a new episode of Railroad Alaska??? I mean, does it get any better than this, people?!?!?!?!?! No. Not for me. Ordering twenty-nine bolts of fabric does not seem as scary and difficult as, say, using an avalanche cannon, or trying not to get hit by a gigantic ice dagger. Or even using a dilapidated outhouse in the dead of winter. Perspective.
So, we're almost at the point where all of the ordering has happened, and the stuff is starting to come in, and the preparation of all the stuff begins. I work on the sewing and the knitting and the photographing and the writing, and the girls work on the floss-pulling and the button-bagging and the felt-folding. We are having all of the fabric cut now by Spooltown, the little factory down the road. Greta and I will go there today and drop off some fabric that's already come in. They'll fold it for us, as well. At night I talk to the animals and make sure we're getting it right: Do you want the pinkish dress, or the yellow? You want the yellow. That's what I thought. We usually agree.
My plan for 2014 is just . . . not to rush. When I decided to stop designing ornament kits last year, some of it had to do with the schedule that designing for a specific date — like a holiday — forces upon you. It turns out that it's almost never the actual work that is so difficult, it's the deadlines that make it so tough (for me, anyway). Since I work for myself, and only ever want to work for myself, this is something I can control. This is one of the perks. (There are downsides, trust me, but this is one of the perks, especially as a working/stay-at-home mom.) So, we're looking at this spring, sometime. I'm not going to set a date until we're very close to being done. But it feels good. I love working and I'm so lucky to have such excellent people helping me. So lucky to have them.
Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes! We finished the cake a few days ago, and then there was another one over the weekend, because my brother-in-law's birthday is two days after mine, and my mom's is the day after that. I think everyone's quite partied and present-ed out. It's finally back to regular days. I'm looking forward to it, truly.