march diy + business book club

dear-handmade-life-diy-craft-business-book-club-m-4This time last week I was 30,000 feet in the air having a panic attack. This is the way I start pretty much all vacations (Remember my honeymoon plane flight)? by voraciously spraying my Rescue Remedy (it’s like an herbal Zanax for hippies or people who hate to medicine) in my mouth. I always go way beyond the suggested dosage of six to eight sprays and often have to stop myself from ripping off the atomizer and downing the whole bottle.

I brave these flights because something wonderful always awaits me when I land. This time, it was my annual reunion weekend with my high school friends at a rented house in Palm Springs.

Despite the fact that I look forward to these kinds of trips for months, I almost cancelled. With only a few weeks to go before Craftcation, it seems like no matter how many things I do everyday, my to-do list seems to be longer at the end of the day than at the beginning. I have a hard time relaxing when there are unfinished tasks. I’ve always had this idea in my head that once everything is done, I will take a break. I wrote about how I discovered the benefits of taking a break here.

I’ve been a creative entrepreneur for over ten years. It’s a bit embarrassing that it took me until just this past year to realize that my to-do list will never ever ever be empty. Once I realized that, I knew I needed to find a way to take a break even while there were still things that needed to be done.

Instead of canceling my trip, I reread Eleanor’s post: What to do When you are Doing Too Much. I took a deep breath. Then, I grabbed my gigantic to-do list and portioned it out over the next two weeks. I tried not to think about things that weren’t on that days list.

So there I was in Palm Springs at the amazing mid century marvel rental house with some of my favorite women in the world attempting to let go of my to-do list and be present in the moment. I swam in the pool with lovely white clouds in the lovely blue sky and palm trees overhead and mountains in the distance. I laughed until my sides ached as my friends and I retold stories of high school antics we’d recounted dozens of times over the past 20 years. We ate and drank margaritas. I listened to my friend detail the week she spent at a silent Vipassana meditation retreat and how by day three her monkey mind (a barrage of restless thoughts) finally calmed down. I cried along with one of my friends whose struggles to have and then adopt a baby are heartbreaking. I listened as my other friend excitedly talk about her new love and talked about married life with those of us that has found our other half. I woke up early every morning and listened to the birds chirp while I worked out re-branding ideas for Patchwork and Craftcation, then drew in my sketchbook until my hand cramped. I tiptoed into the kitchen and quietly started cooking breakfast for everyone while they were still sleeping. And, both days, I stayed in the pool until my fingers pruned and the stars came out.

Also… I read —Β 99 problems but a Baby Ain’t One Megan Silianoff’s (Greetings from Texas) memoir about adoption and cancer that we posted about in last month’s book club, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future byΒ Chris Guillebeau and Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Sadly, when I’m at home, I rarely make time for reading. I have a stack of 20 books on my nightstand and I’m lucky if I can squeeze in reading a page or two a day. There was a time when I wouldn’t go anywhere without a book. That time passed when I got a fancy phone and realized I could answer emails, check social media and catch up on blogs (aka work) in those free moments while waiting in line at the post office.

Then it was time to leave Palm Springs. My plane landed late. I was still filled with adrenaline from my flight anxiety after my husband had gone to bed. Normally, I would hop on the computer and return emails or open the iPad and bookmark some blog articles. Instead I laid down on the couch and opened Megan’s book that I had nearly finished while away.

My house was quiet and dark. I thought about my husband sleeping in the next room, the stars that I knew were less visible here than they were in the desert darkness of the past few days and our chickens huddled up in their coop as I listened to the hum of the refrigerator coming from the kitchen. Then… my list of things to do crept into my mind and I pushed it aside and said to myself, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jonesing for a little time alone with a book too? Find a moment to sit down someplace and cozy up with one of our four picks for our March DIY and business book club. See below for details to win two of these awesome titles.

-nicole s.





1. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch

2. Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

3. Craft Inc Business Planner by Meg Mateo Ilasco

4. The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chessman

Want a chance to win two of these books – The Pickled Pantry and Heather Ross Prints? All you have to do is…

Leave a comment on this post by March 10th at midnight telling us your favorite place or time to read. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address and ship you some lovely things to read.

We’ll announce the winner on Twitter on March 12th, so be sure to follow us there.

The contest is now closed! Congrats to the winner Sara!!!


  1. Anytime, anywhere. Usually I try to read in bed before I go to bed, although some nights I’m just too tired to focus and other nights I have to force myself to put the book down. I tend to read more on the weekends. Also, I’ve been reading a lot more since I got my kindle. It’s easier to take with me where ever I’m going and less bulky than the big books I usually like to read. However, I do miss that book smell and flipping through the pages randomly to see what comes up.

    1. hi tami!
      totally agree about the smell of actual books and flipping through the pages! i haven’t been able to join the digital reading world yet — but i totally remember thinking i would never get rid of my cd’s and now all my music is on my ipod!

  2. My ideal place to read would be either outside on a sunny day or snuggled up in bed or the sofa. Since I don’t always have the opportunity for such an indulgence, I usually end up reading or flipping through books during lunch breaks. I might occasionally neglect the dishes and laundry to read, too. πŸ˜‰

    1. hi mary!
      i agree about sofa reading! in fact, i just got a new sofa and so excited to snuggle into it with a book but like you – i usually end up reading during random breaks πŸ™‚

  3. My favorite place to read is outside at the park, lying down on the grass, next to a pond full of ducks πŸ™‚ It’s like combining one super relaxing thing with another super relaxing thing!

  4. Before bed is just about the only time I feel ok about reading for a good chunk of time. I too usually feel like there’s something “better” I could be doing during the day. Reading before bed also helps me turn of my brain and relax, so right before bed is perfect!

    1. hi casey!
      i agree… it’s so hard for me to make time and feel good about sitting and reading during the day when there is so much to done. before bed = perfect! -nicole

  5. I love reading during my lunch break. I’ve found this great bench that sits in the shade of a tree just off the downtown main street where I work and it is perfect. I can bring lunch or coffee with me and just enjoy being outside in the middle of my day. Of course reading in bed before turning in for the night isn’t so bad either!

    1. natalie,
      lunch break reading is pretty awesome! i work from home, so often i’d watch a bit of guilty pleasure tv while eating lunch but recently started reading instead – love it! still let’s you relax and ‘escape’ but feels a bit better for you than tv πŸ™‚

  6. What’s reading?? I used to read all the time and somehow manage to fall asleep any time I try now. Might be the influence of a 2 yr old and 3 yr old. I dream of getting back into reading. Whenever I find a book to start, I usually lose all contact with actual humans until I finish it. That’s partly why I have to take breaks between books. Maybe someday I’ll learn to actually pace myself. πŸ˜‰

  7. Favorite time to read? How about when it’s raining outside. No, wait! At night when the kids and hubs are asleep and house is finally quiet. Ooo, wait, no. When the electricity is out and I’m forced to read by candlelight (even though I have a booklight…). Hmmm…Maybe when it’s cold outside and I’m snuggled under a blanket with a cup of coffee at hand. Or maybe in the summer out in the sun with a tall glass of iced tea. Who am I kidding. I enjoy reading any stolen chance I can get!

  8. These days, I’m reading in the middle of the night in bed after I’ve given up on trying to get back to sleep right away. Stress insomnia caused by a too-large to-do list is not fun. Looks like I need to read the ‘what to do when you are doing too much’ post next!

    1. annie!
      ohhh… that’s a good idea! with craftcation coming up so soon – waking in the middle of the night with my brain going full speed is happening far too often. i need to read instead of laying there telling my brain to be quiet! – yes, totally read the what to do when you’re doing too much post πŸ™‚
      helped me tons πŸ™‚

  9. Reading… a bed time luxury. Most of the time interrupted by the call of a child or my heavy eyelids. Other than that, on the long drives to visit our family in NorCal is always a good time. =)

    1. brigitte,
      yeah! car reading! the best! totally love when someone i completely trust like my husband or close friend or parents is driving and i can read and then drift off to sleep in the car πŸ™‚

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