{reflecting on where you used to be…}

Gussy Sews jewelry case, open [2009]

Gussy Sews jewelry case, closed [2009]

* * *

do you ever take the time to reflect on where you used to be and the process that brought you from then to now? when i started sewing, in detroit, mi in november of 2008, my focus was on learning the trade and fat quarters and the rush of excitement threading my parents sewing machine brought me. it was simple and it was more of a “right now” thing with no real future goals. then the following month zack’s mom + grandma gave me a family sewing machine for christmas and our lives have been forever changed ♥. the more i learned about sewing; the more i blogged; the quicker i understood about fabric, thread, and interfacing, the faster i fell in love. in february of 2009 zack and i were both suddenly unemployed. while it was absolutely the weirdest thing to “be”, we kept our focus on what we were interested in and very slowly, things started to make sense.

my passion for the trade increased as the months passed and i continued to draw up new patterns. i had found my rhythm of applying for jobs in the journalism field {one of my college majors; the other was art} and selling handmade items on etsy. both were important to me as i didn’t fully realize i could make a living off of handmade, but sewing had settled deep into my heart.

in march of 2009 i branded my products “gussy” after gussy the goose in charlotte’s web. you see, my mom calls me gussy and it’s a loveliest reminder of our relationship now that i have a company named after her nickname for me… [hi mom!]

the months passed and soon it was august of 2009. zack and i were still [sadly} unemployed but were talking with a friend that lived in minneapolis. nikki worked at an advertising agency downtown and was sure she could get me an interview.

the rest is a giant blur: zack + i drove to minneapolis. i interviewed with the ad agency. i freelanced with them for a week. zack started searching for housing + work. they kept me on for another week. they offered me a full-time job, which i accepted. we drove home to detroit on a friday, packed our house on saturday, drove back to minneapolis on sunday, moved in on monday, i started work on wednesday and zack FOUND a job and was HIRED 2 weeks later. praise God!

zack and i lived in an apartment downtown for 1 year before realizing we needed more room for gussy. oh — also during that time i quit the job we moved to minneapolis for {just 8 months after moving here} to become an indie biz owner. we decided to move away from downtown, but still within minneapolis, we adopted a puppy. ha ha, i always find a way to bring bauer into the conversation…

so much has happened — so many exciting, scary, life-changing things, and i love to sit and reflect on what used to be and the process from then to now. seeing some of my original gussy designs make me feel GRATEFUL and PROUD, they inspire me to continually work towards my dreams. setting aside time for reflection is so important — don’t you agree??

“Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a reflection of something that is happening inside of us,” –Alan Cohen

Gussy Sews wallet [2009]

Gussy Sews stack of wallets [2009]

share with us: what is your favorite thing to reflect on? why does it mean so much to you? what do you do to nurture that memory?

Pin It


  1. 1


    My favorite memory to reflect on (in the scope of handmade of course) is the many nights that I sat at the dining room table, painting my tiny heart out, listening to music and just letting it all flow out of me. I love that when I paint (or design) and generally put my focus on one simple thing – which is hard for me and a rarity – everything else in the world seems to make a little more sense. I don’t worry about the laundry or the dishes. I try really hard to ignore my phone, twitter and email. That is my favorite memory – how I feel when I just sit down and concentrate. :)

    And since that is one of the only times my mind will quiet itself I also try to listen for God while I’m doing it. It is so hard for us to press the pause button in our lives and just sit quietly and listen for God. But lately He has been begging me to slow down. I haven’t been painting much since before Christmas but over the past couple of weeks I have been told every day (in an email, in several blog posts, in a youth retreat – literally from all angles) to be STILL and know that HE is God. So I am going back to painting – to nurturing that memory of a quiet mind – and to meet with God. :)

  2. 4


    When we first moved, Handsome didn’t have a job yet, and I was getting a meager Teaching Assistant’s salary. P-double-o-R Poor. But we had enough, and we were happy. We watched Seasons 1-4 of The Office for the first 3 months, trying to get caught up on what our new friends liked to watch. To this day, that theme song reminds me of those times.

  3. 6

    Nadir@StitchSense says

    Love that wallet & jewelry case! I think my favorite memory (which is somewhat bittersweet) is to reflect on my life before my hubby & I got married. I was actually married before him at a very young age & it ended up being a very emotionally abusive marriage, he was into substance abuse & for 5 years I prayed, cried & clung to hope until I felt the Lord telling me to release him. So we eventually divorced, I moved back home & eventually met my now amazing hubby! God knew exactly what & who I needed to heal. Looking back on what I lovingly refer to as my “past life” it helps remind me of how God protected me & promised me a better future & its exceeded my wildest expectations, only helping me look forward what God has in store for us even more! :-)

  4. 9


    My business journey just started in Aug. of 2010. My journey to finally find something that I love doing took over 50 years (now that would be a long blog post!) I have a picture of the very 1st machine embroidered towel that I sold to someone right near one of my sewing machines. It reminds me on a daily bases that all things are possible. And you really can teach an old dog new tricks!!

  5. 12


    I absolutely loved this post Gussy! Reflecting is such a good thing. When I first started out {in the hand made world} I was trying a variety of things and not really knowing what I was suppose to be doing. I knew I wanted to create items and have a shop so for the longest time I just played around with items and my heart wasn’t in it. In December right before Christmas I found my calling. I wanted to hand stamp Jewelry. But I wanted it to be different then about a week before I got my supplies I knew. I wanted to create Inspirational hand stamped hand stamped necklaces. Every time I pound that hammer on the metal stamp onto the metal disc, my heart flutters. Knowing I’m creating something that is hopefully going to encourage/inspire someone. I also knew I wanted to expand my inspirational pieces. So I started creating Inspirational Subway art. It has been so much fun designing them. Now I’m working on a few new ideas to expand it further, because inspiring/encouraging people is something that means a great deal to me and I want to do it in as many ways as I can!

    • 13


      hehe, that sounds like me! did you know i started making jewelry? probs not. i don’t think i’ve really talked about that… it was something i would have loved to be good at but it just wasn’t “my thing”. i’m so glad you took a minute to reflect on where you used to be! xoxo

  6. 14


    Great reminder Maggie! I hadn’t thought about it since I don’t make things or have a shop. But to look back to the beginning of your blog and see how far you’ve come is a huge confidence and energy booster. It made me feel like this hasn’t all been a waste of time!

  7. 16


    I agree that it is great to reflect on how God has guided you in directions you didn’t know you were going. God is amazing and his plan for our lives is always better than what we had planned. I left my full-time teaching job for some personal reasons, and know the Lord is leading me into having a handmade small business. I would have never thought a year ago, this is where I would be. I thought I would have been teaching for the rest of my career. If we trust in the Lord, He will bless our way as we walk with HIm. Thanks for sharing. Have a blessed day! xo

  8. 17


    I like thinking just before I graduated for colleged and what I expected my life to be. It’s turned out very {very} differently, but I feel like I am becoming the person I am meant to be and that makes me oh so happy.

  9. 19


    Thinking about my life pre-marriage.
    I never had the lovey supportive family. I felt/feel like the black sheep.
    Everything I went through, led me to where I am right now. Married, to the.best.man.ever (for me), kiddos, precious and unique and definitely came from Rob and My genes!
    Over my lifetime I have tried to understand God’s plans, instead of my “feelings”, which can be so hard. I’ve learned about forgiveness, both giving and receiving.
    Looking at my kids, that is what grounds me, holds the moments at greater value…what will I leave them…legacy, values, memories.
    Our past is what molds and shapes us, it does not have to define us.
    I honor mine now, instead of hate it. It brought the goodness I have…it brought me to find Jesus, and from that I found blessings. :0)

  10. 20


    The thing I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on when it comes to where I used to be and where I am now is more emotional for me. Not that these things can’t be emotional…totally don’t mean it that way, but I used to be emotionally a mess and so much of that has changed. Sometimes I’m in awe of how much God has changed me. From being someone who used to physically hurt herself to someone who fought her way through it, from being someone who was in an abusive relationship to someone who finally got herself out of it and now is in a loving marriage. Those places….weren’t places I ever saw myself getting to. God is so good in how He is there with us through the hard times and carries us to the good times!

  11. 22


    I too have named my business after the nickname my parents gave me. And yes, I look back to some of my first bead projects and really want to take them back and redo them, but it does show me where I’ve come from and hopefully where I’m going. Great post – I love reading your blog. You inspire me to look at things in a different way, get working on projects, organize, etc. Please keep up the great work!

    • 23


      whenever someone tells me they just finished reading my blog from start to finish i get a lil nervous. but then i start to laugh… thinking about the silly things i’ve shared and reflecting on all i’ve learned. if i took those posts down i don’t think this blog would mean nearly as much to me as it does.

      so i totally relate to your comment. and thank you so much for your sweet words :)

  12. 24


    This is great. Reflecting back is great to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve improved. So healthy! :) You’ve done well for yourself. :) Great work! You are such an inspiration!

  13. 25

    Christy says

    I absolutely LOVE the wallet! ! wish you still offered this…it would for sure be the next Gussy piece I add to my collection! :) Love your posts lately, and how honest and inspiring they are!

  14. 27


    Your creativity is so inspiring. I’ve always wanted to start creating things to sell, whether it’s crocheting or sewing, but honestly I’m just not artistic enough. That really bums me out, but I just can’t think of things to create and sell. Have you always been artistic and creative, even when you were younger (I saw you took art in college)? I find those who have home businesses, selling creative things like you do, are usually very artistic and have always been that way. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t really artistic, making a business of it. Do you find that is also true? I know people always say find something you enjoy doing and just do it, but when there is no artistic vision, that is very hard. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.

  15. 30


    Oh, Kim, your felt scarf and bowls are totally doelciius! They look so warm and cozy, just the thing since we’ve just had our first snow here in Southern New England. And the colors! Turquoise and aqua always make me feel happy — they remind me of Puerto Rico and warmth and sunshine.I am so glad you got to be my first commenter after my accidentally self-imposed exile. And look at all you’ve done! One hundred blog posts! Awards! And that great list. From where I’m sitting, it’s all mighty impressive and inspiring. You go, girl!

  16. 31


    Oh my goodness, Maria… just love your blog. Glad I found it so I can catch up now, owerhtise I’d be reading for days on end at one time. Off to check out the links, I do know Lulu though (fantastic!). Will add you to maison sidebar!~Tracie

  17. 32


    My pincushion was an unwonkn little gift mixed in with my mother’s things after she passed away; one mo. shy of her 90 s birthday. My husband & I received boxes and boxes of stuff from the nursing home that she had lived in for only 6 mos. That weekend after going thru her boxes I found her box of sewing items (not having used them for yrs).. WHAT a great gift & surprise.. So now my mother is always at my side when I sew.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>