February DIY + Creative Business Book Club 2016

February DIY and Creative Business Book Club Selections from Dear Handmade Life

I’ve been feeling kind of “meh” all day. I did what I do 95% of the time when I feel this way. I buckled down and got to work blasting through my to-do list. Accomplishing things usually helps me feel better. For some reason it didn’t work today. The “meh” feeling stuck around.

There’s really no reason for it… I’m about to go on a mini-winter vacation to the snowy mountains. I’ve been taking morning walks almost every day. I’m on track with my to-do list. Craftcation is less than two months away.

Then my husband called when he got off work. We started working towards a personal goal together this week. I’ve been doing so-so but he’s been killing it! He updated me on his progress as he started his drive home. I burst into tears and in between the sobs I managed to sniffle out, “You’re doing so much better than me at this.”

“It’s not a contest,” he said. He was right, it isn’t a contest. We’re not working towards this goal as opponents, we’re working towards it separately but at the same time. Measuring my progress against his isn’t smart. We each started with a different set of skills and knowledge so our baseline was not the same. Comparing my advancement to his was making me feel horrible and sadly not as supportive of him as I wanted to be.

I’m pretty good at letting go of the whole “compare and despair” thing when it comes to the Internet but today I was reminded at how horrible at it I am in real life. In school comparing myself to my peers led to some pretty destructive thinking. I could never be as pretty as “so and so” or have parents as wealthy as “that girl” or be great at Algebra like “her”. Of course there was no way I could be all of those things at that moment. BUT guess what? Neither could those girls. Sure one of them was ridiculously pretty but guess what? She was also crappy at Algebra. The girl who was great at Algebra worked like crazy to get that good because her parents didn’t have money for college and she was aiming for a scholarship. Yes, there are a few people in this world that seem to have it all but I’ve met several of them and every single one of them put in the work to be at the top of their game in the things they’re successful at.

The more time we spend comparing ourselves to other people, the less time we’re spending working towards whatever goals are on our plate at that moment. I’m not saying you can’t spend a moment wishing your living room is as perfectly put together as one of your peers with a polished Instagram feed BUT make it just a moment. Don’t relish in it. Don’t obsess. AND do remind yourself that chances are there is some other area of his/her life that isn’t perfect and that they put in the work to make that living room look as flawless as it does.

My father is super fit. He’s one of the few men in their 60s (at least that I know) that has a six-pack. People are constantly asking him how he stays so trim. He always says the same thing, “I watch what I eat and I exercise everyday”. That never seems to satisfy anyone. They want to know his secret. He does have a secret. The secret is… he is constantly aware of and working towards his goal of being trim. That’s it! He puts in the work and rarely wastes time and energy comparing himself to other people.

As we wrap up January and head into the second month of 2016 you may still be going strong on your resolutions or perhaps like me you’re doing well with a few and faltering with others. Remember my resolution that I shared last month to read six books this year? That’s one of the ones I’m not doing the best at. But, I’m not alone. Only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. Seriously! 8%! If you’re older the statistics are even more dismal. 39% of people in their twenties achieve their resolutions while only 14% of people over 50 do. Yikes!

Okay. Okay. I’m not trying to depress you but rather I want you to remember two things as we head into February and you keep tackling your big list of resolutions.

  1. The time you spend comparing yourself to other people is time you’re not spending on yourself.
  2. The only way to get things done is to actually do them.

On that note I’m heading off to read and get a little bit closer to my goal of reading six books this year.

*If you need some support in working towards your goals be sure to check out these posts:

Three lessons I learned from completing a long-time creative goal

Why creative business owners need to create personal goals and a life-list

Start. Stop. Continue. Assessing the past to accomplish in the future.

S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting

If you’re looking to build your business or inspire your creativity, check out the four titles in our DIY + Business Book Club this month. To be entered to win 3 of these books, The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion, Little One-Yard Wonders, and The Spoonflower Handbook just leave a comment on the post below letting us know the best book(s) you read in 2015. Post your comment by February 17th at midnight to be entered to win. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address if you win and ship you some lovely things to read. {Contest open to US residents only}

-Nicole S.

The Contest is now closed! Congrats to the winner Lynsey!

To enter the contest:

Leave a comment to the post and let us know the best book or books you read in 2015. Make sure to share with us by Feb 17th at midnight in order to have a chance to win 3 of these books. Leave us your email address so we can notify you if you win, and ship you three of these lovely books to read! Good luck and happy reading!

  1. The Spoonflower Handbook by Stephen Fraser with Judi Ketteler & Becka Rahn
  2. Little One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins
  3. The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion
  4. Adventures in Wholesale by Adrienne Lee Wiley

February DIY and Creative Business Book Club Selections from Dear Handmade Life February DIY and Creative Business Book Club Selections from Dear Handmade Life


  1. The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truely Are, Little Book of Lettering and Art Inc.

  2. The best book I read last year has to be Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart. It was recommended to me by a friend. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it at first but really fell in love with the story.

  3. The best book I read in 2015 was Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset. She was a seamstress and all of the passages about mending, seeing and creating nudged me to buy my very first seeing machine!

  4. My favorite book I read in 2015 was Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah. A few others I read were Craft, Inc. and Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. All of the books were good, but very different from each other.

      1. I agree! It was so good. I’m currently reading her book The Nightingale, which has a similar war story, but so far Winter Garden was better.

        1. Totally! I’ve read a few of hers, and Winter Garden, by far stands out as the best one. Maybe it hit me just right because I’m a mom, but the story was amazing and I loved learning some history as she wove that story together.

  5. I think the only books I read in 2015 were kids books. I can quote the whole of “Where is the green Sheep”. I made myself a promise for 2016 to start reading for myself.

    1. Ha ha! I can absolutely relate! I actually started listening to audio books (free download from my local library using the Overdrive app on my phone) in order to listen to books just for me. I can listen while doing dishes, or folding laundry, which helps make these tasks *almost* fun! With 4 kids, its not often I can just sit and read for myself without getting roped into something for them.

  6. Some of the books I have read in 2015 & earlier: “All Points Patchwork” by Diane Gilleland; I took an excellent EPP class from her at Craftcation14. “Through the Evil Days” by Julia Spencer-Fleming; it is 8th in a riveting mystery series. “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. The last two are very serious and thought-provoking.
    Two of my joys are reading and quilting!

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