Julie is the creative mind behind Third Eye Artisans and a member of Sheteam. Today Julie is sharing with us a little bit about herself and her Etsy shop.
I have been married for 27 years to a remarkable man and have 8 children, ages 32 to 12. I also have 3 perfect grandsons, who I am blessed to see several times a week. My homeschooling adventure began 24 years ago as a stop-gap for my oldest daughter, who I pulled out of public school, not because of a dissatisfaction with the school system, but because of peer pressure and influence. We had planned to home school her that first year until we could find a suitable, small private Christian school to enroll her in. As the Lord would have it, I took the plunge and never looked back. I have graduated 5 of my children with 2 still in school, but almost done. My youngest has Down syndrome so I expect my homeschooling of him will never end.
We live a not-so-quiet life on 10 acres in the country, a life that I am quite content with. I call the happenings around here "controlled chaos" because of animals, school, jobs, errands, lessons, college, home business, grandchildren, etc. I can't believe how undeservedly blessed I am.
I have been crafty my whole adult life, but especially since I started homeschooling. I think crafting is such an integral part of homeschooling for most folks. I have taught all of my daughters to crochet and knit but I am the one who really enjoys the designing and experimenting with color, texture, and technique. My stash of yarn keeps growing and growing as I find different yarn suppliers. Please!! I can't help myself! I started out making my items and simply giving them away as gifts to everyone. Many times for "just because". Finally, my family and friends suggested I try and sell the things I was creating. My oldest daughter has a very successful etsy shop and she really urged me to open my own. So, I did.....
~~~~~Stained Glass Skinny Scarf~~~~~
You know, I have *so* many homeschooling memories but I have to say that one of my favorites is when, after spending what seemed like way too many grueling hours on phonics lessons with one son in particular, the light finally came on in his brain and he started reading. He's not stopped and is one of the best readers I know. It was an epiphany for me and a culmination of all those hours of toil, teaching a dyslexic child to read who might, otherwise, have been lost and forsaken in the public school system.
~~~~~Dopey Slouch Hat~~~~~
The best advice I can give, and have given, to any homeschooler trying to run a business is to not forget your priorities. It sounds cliche' but is so important. Anyone who looks at my shop can see I don't have monumental sales. It takes a lot of time to homeschool and a lot of time to run a business, as well. I can't do it all and neither can any homeschooling mom I know, although we try. The actual crocheting part of my business is easy because I do it while I'm schooling, during quiet time, and watching a movie in the evenings. But taking photos, writing descriptions, listing, etc. takes a lot of time and it's time that I'm not tending to household things so those etsy tasks don't get done as consistently as I'd like. For instance, right now I have about 20 new items that I need to list but I'm trying to get outside to photograph them, write descriptions, and get them listed. I try and work in the 20 minutes snippets of time I get here and there, rather than carving out a full 2 to 3 hours, which is nearly impossible. So, the new items wait, and sometimes wait a little longer. But I am at peace with where my shop is and where it's going. I'm mindful that there will be plenty of time later, maybe too much time, to devote to my shop. In the meantime, I do what I can, when I can.
~~~~~~~~~Razzle Dazzle Shawlette~~~~~~~~
Believe it or not, the inspiration for my pieces comes from inside my brain. I have *always* loved vivid color. I see a beautiful yarn and can picture in my head what to make with it. I tell a little story on my profile page about a first grade teacher who told me, and the whole class for that matter, that my Abraham Lincoln ditto sheet was not colored correctly because I didn't use black or brown but, instead, used every single color in my crayon box. In my little 6 year old brain, black and brown was boring and I wanted to see all the lovely colors that God has created in my picture. I've not changed much since then. Although I do use black and brown in some of my items, I mainly use bright, vivid colors and color combinations.
My main goal for homeschooling has basically remained unchanged all these years and that's to not focus on academics, although we all know how important that is. Rather, I want my children to be hard working, capable, common sense driven, other-oriented, people who know what they believe. I know many well intentioned homeschoolers who thought the whole reason for homeschooling was to just provide a better education than the public school and, although that is part of why we homeschool, it's not the main reason. So, for my husband and myself, if we've raised hard working people who value what God values, elevate others above themselves, and know what they believe, then we've succeeded.
As far as my shop, I would *love* to see my sales soar. We all know the feeling we get when a sale is made! I hope to see my sales continue on a steady course and as the Lord sees fit. As long as I can continue to create and give things to my family and friends, I'm happy.