Note: I made this a 2-part series because it was getting too long! Go here to see how “the before times” (i.e., before quarantine and the reality of COVID-19 hit) went.
In 2020, I was glad that my side hustle was just that–something I could put off to the side. I am an AP English Language teacher and mom to a now-four-year-old. When quarantine life started in March and my school moved to entirely virtual learning, my husband and I had to pivot to figure out a new family routine. And ours meant 7-day work weeks in which we tag-teamed on parenting duties and ramped up our productivity during our work hours. I had to figure out how to teach online AND get my kids ready for an AP test in May. I didn’t have time for my side hustle anymore.
My creative plan for March was to create 10 new sticker designs and restock posters in time for a crafts fair in April. But. The craft fair was swiftly cancelled. And, honestly, I was glad for it. With how exhausted I was, I couldn’t commit to anything else. I went back to the roots of my lettering journey: stress management. I lettered to calm down and breathe, and have some means of communicating with the outside world now that I was stuck indoors.
I did a lot of traditional ink-and-paper drawings to build up on my skills…
…and during that little bit of springtime when we were all hopeful that “The Great Human Pause” would bring about positive change, I wrote cute little messages in front of our house. Knowing how 2020 would end up, these make me cringe a bit now.
The Summer Moon board sat in my library for weeks. Greg didn’t contact me because he was busy figuring out how to sell coffee in a pandemic, and I didn’t contact him because I was busy with figuring out virtual school. The chalkboard started becoming a reminder of all the things COVID-19 stole from me, and I began to loathe looking at it.
But then… we started gaining our footing. Greg lit a fire under my butt, and I finally got moving. And I finished that baby. You can find this one at the Frisco location!
Then, he asked me to do two more. All the emotions that go with pandemic life meant that I worked through these boards slower than I would have in the “normal” world–it took me all summer to get through them. But eventually I did.
Fort Worth Location 1:
Fort Worth Location 2:
So now, you can see my work at any DFW Summer Moon! It’s surreal that I got to do all of these, and I am so grateful for the work and the experience!
Compared with giant chalkboards, everything else seems small… but here are some other projects that I absolutely loved!
A nursery canvas for my friend Kelly’s new baby boy:
A family sign for someone I met at my one and only official calligraphy class this year:
A silly canvas I painted for my husband for our seventh wedding anniversary:
A combination house design I made because I’m learning that I have quite a bit of Ravenclaw in me, even though I love Hufflepuff:
And in the fall, I finally made those 10 new designs that I wanted to make in March. Yes, OK, some of them are just slight variations of each other, but I got it done!
When the holidays came around, I was a bit concerned. I had an amazing holiday season in 2019 because I was just the right kind of busy; all the Christmas orders made me feel like one of Santa’s elves! I didn’t know if I would get nearly as much business this year… and I was blown away with all the ornament and project requests I got!
I wanted to take a picture of each of my ornaments this year, but there were just too many! Plus, I made them all late at night, so I never had good lighting to document everything. Here are a few favorites:
The biggest, most epic project I had for the holidays was an advent calendar for Kelly. She had a simple design in mind, but I wanted to try something a bit more ambitious and fun. And amazing woman that she is, she gave me permission to do what I wanted! Here’s an advent calendar that’s painted with some of their family’s favorite Christmas movies and carols!
These are the highlights, though. The stuff that’s not pictured:
- nights of itching to create something, but at the same time not knowing what to do or if it’s even worth it;
- craft fairs I wish I could have attended;
- losing money on a booth reservation for a craft fair that didn’t happen;
- perfectionism that ran rampant because my creations were the only things I could control, so I would erase and erase and erase and hate myself every step of the way;
- scaring away new potential clients with big projects because I couldn’t fit in their work with my teaching schedule;
- not touching my website or blog for nearly a whole year because I couldn’t put more on my plate.
Composing this post was mostly a self-care task for me–to remind myself that it wasn’t entirely a bad year, that I had really amazing opportunities and a ton of support to get me through. This was the first year that I actually made money from my side-hustle! I made enough to invest in a Cricut Maker!
So, thank you to everyone who cheered me on and supported me. I’m still moving at a pandemic pace–art is my third priority after caring for my family and my students–but I’m still moving forward. And part of that is finally getting back to this blog after almost a year away from it!