6 March 2020

Behind the scenes...a day in the life of.....

Generally, I have multiple projects on the go at any one time.  Mostly, these are for the business for either new kits or clubs, interspersed with the occasional 'just for me and mine' project.  

My current list of 'active' projects on the go looks like this:
  • Secret Squirrel Stitch Society Summer Projects (two of)
  • 12 Days of Christmas Mini Quilt
  • Christmas Eve Project (I haven't thought of a good name yet, but I'll tell you about this once I have)
  • Series of 'China Blue' sewing accessories (Huswif/Needlebook & Pin Cushion)
  • Floral Alphabet Sampler
  • Embroidered Phenology Wheel
  • 2nd Perfect Pairs quilt (this one is for me to snuggle under, but the Perfect Pairs template and original bundle is available on the website HERE and you can read all about my original version HERE. (Edited 7/3/20 Sorry I that's not very clear is it....we will be preparing a limited run of kits in this 2nd colourway, once I have finished my quilt and 100% happy!) 
Still to start, but sketches have been made:
  • Secret Squirrel Stitch Society projects for Autumn / Winter (the Christmassy one) & Spring (six of)
  • Christmas Workshop Projects (two of)
  • Block of the Month Clubs (September start and January start... various)
  • Floral Embroidery Monograms 
  • and of course, lets not forget the ones that pop in to my head when I least expect it and I just have to start!
Completed and being released once the pattern has been written:
  • Gingerbread Felt House Decorations
  • Advent Calendar Felt Decorations (we have little something special planned for these this December!)
There are of course various 'inactive' projects, but these are mostly the 'ones for me', that inevitably fall to the bottom of the list to be finished one of these days, or projects that I feel, whilst promising at the start, don't quite live up to what I hoped for.

I know this may seem slightly bonkers to have so much going on at any one time and of course, when I share progress pictures, I realise that they can take months (and months) to come to fruition.  However, please bear with me as this style of working suits me very well, as I'm able to pick up the project that I'm most in the mood for... whether that be a little English paper piecing, embroidery, hand quilting or applique...you get my drift! This way, even though my stitching is on the whole 'work' based, it doesn't feel like 'work'... I sew because I LOVE it  so much and it genuinely feels like happy stitches all the time.

It would be lovely if I was able to sew all day, but most of my sewing is done well in to the evening, as my days are filled with all the other aspects of running a creative business and of course alongside being a mum, wife and new puppy owner too (as if I didn't have enough going on).

My weekdays on average, normally look a little like this:

Monday to Friday, the alarm goes off at 6am and I'm down stairs dressed and ready for action by 6:30, when Andy leaves for work.  This is when I look at Instagram and Facebook over at least one, mostly two mugs of tea.  It has always been really important to me to try and reply to all the kind comments left, so this is when I do that.....sometimes it can take nearly an hour!  I also if I have time, like to do some sketching of new designs.  

7am I am now in full mum mode, we have breakfast, I make pack ups and then I spend the next half hour sounding like a talking clock counting down, so that they leave the house by 8am on time to walk to school.

8am is walking time for Pepper, our 8 month old Standard Schnauzer...gosh what a bundle of fun she is, although I do find myself crying with laughter and also nearly crying with despair at various points throughout the week.  I do love our morning walk though, even in the rain!  She started her next level of dog training classes this week, she's doing her 'Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award' and at the beginning of the class, the trainer introduced her as follows "Everyone, this is Pepper, she is a Standard Schnauzer.  Standard Schnauzers like to bark ALOT, it isn't you, it's just what they do".  Roll on when she's one, Andy is planning on doing agility with her...I'm hoping it may use up some of her boundless energy! (.....Please don't burst my bubble of hope!)

9am - 4pm (ish)This is when I do all my 'work' jobs.  Mum and I try to do a lot of these things together where we can, some are done individually, but it's very much a partnership, plus dad helps out too.  I split my time between the workshop and working on the computer stuff at home.  Things that have to be done (listed in no particular order) are:
  • Packing website orders  
  • Post run
  • Prep for our existing monthly clubs
  • Restocking kits
  • Pattern writing 
  • Prepping new embroidery designs from paper to printed fabric
  • Emails
  • Maintaining the website
  • Writing the occasional newsletter (I must try harder to send more..but I'm very conscious, not to send too many as to bombard your inboxes..maybe one every month or so, would be good?)
  • Writing and maintaining the Blog (this is my year to get to get back to blogging!)
  • Photographing products and taking pictures for social media
  • Making more little videos (I've shared three now on Instagram and Facebook)..I need to see if I can upload them on here too...leave it with me)
  • Choosing fabrics, threads etc in daylight for evening happy stitches and new projects
  • Ordering stock for kits and clubs
  • Meeting fabric reps to view and order from the current collections
  • Planning for new kits..(packaging/costing/stock availability etc)
  • Plus all the financial side of the business..VAT/Paying Bills/Tax/Book Keeping etc
I normally stop for a quick lunch around 1pm and I have for the last year, actually made myself stop, not eat my lunch whilst working.  Often, I prep our supper now too. I'm a massive fan of batch cooking and tray bakes, which makes life so much easier.  If you have any good recipes...please share!  Would you like a blog post with my favourites?  If I can, I like to do a little stitching for half an hour or so, whilst watching something that only I like and Andy definitely doesn't, on TV.  It clears my mind ready for more 'work'.

4pm - 7pm This is when the kids and Andy get home, so I pop my 'mum' head back on.  I always like to stop and chat with them about how there day has gone, chivy Poppy and Jamie along to do their homework and revision.  It's been a really big school year so far.  Poppy has moved up to senior school, which she is loving and has adapted so well.  For Jamie it's GCSE year and all that that entails.  Depending upon who's about, after school clubs, sport etc, I may get some sewing in too, but I also use this time to sketch out new designs and to do a quick social media check too.  We have supper in this window and Pepper gets another walk too.

7pm - 10pm NOW I get to sew!  This is why the majority of my projects are hand sewn, which I can do on the sofa.  If I do need to machine sew, I generally do this in a spare window we may have on a weekend, only very occasionally do I machine sew in the week.  This year, I also decided that I wanted to learn to knit.  So some evenings, I've stopped sewing around 9pm and have been knitting (all be it very slowly!), but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

10pm - 10.30pm Bedtime...there's no staying up late in our house and we can never be accused of being night owls!

Whilst I think both mum and I work really hard, I know I am so lucky to do a job that I love.  In truth, I find it hard to switch of and neither of us probably do not take as much time off as we should, 9 to 5 Monday to Friday definitely doesn't exist...something that we're trying hard to get a little more balance with.  However, it does provide me with so much flexibility, so for example, if the children are poorly, I can stop and look after them...that is really important to me.  So, thank you for all your support, it really does mean so much to us and enabling Pretty Fabrics and Trims to grow..but not too big that it loses the bones and spirit of what we have now!

Wishing you lots of happy stitches for the weekend ahead!
Sarah xo

PS...do you like the 'new look' blog?  Unfortunately, I lost the automatic signature at the end of my previous/historic blog posts, so I'm sorry for the now, rather abrupt endings. BUT I'm so much happier with how it looks.  You can now 'pin' my images more easily...if you hover over them the Pinterest 'P' now appears.  Plus the grid format on the blog home page, make it easier for you to see all my recent posts without having to scroll through them all.  I'm also in the process of adding a drop down menu undert the 'little happy' tutorials on the main menu to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for..I hope this all helps!!



  1. Wow Sarah, you are kept busy. But it will get easier with children and puppy as they get older. Enjoy now while you have the chance.

  2. This all sounds fascinating and I loved seeing all of the photos of your projects. Yes please to recipes. x

    1. Thank you Kay, I've just written a new blog post this morning you may like xo

  3. You've got some pretty projects in the works. I found it quite interesting to read about your daily schedule. I too like to work on different projects at the same time so I completely understand.

  4. Love all your beautiful projects! How do you stay on task? I am interested in your heart block project and was wondering if you could possibly tell me where to purchase the red Ridinghood fabric? Thanks!

    1. Thank you Wendy. The Little Red Riding Hood fabric was by Lecien, a little while ago. I've been saving it for a special project. Fingers crossed you can track some down. Sarah xo


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it really does make my day! If you have a question, please do ask away and I will do my very best to answer. Sarah xo

Update July 2020: Unfortunately, due to a large increase in spam and inappropriate comments, I have turned on 'Comment Moderation', so your comment will not appear immediately. My apologies for this!

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