It’s not the path I intended to take –
Then things changed.
An unshakable feeling down to the very last cell in my body that I had to share my passion for family, dinner around the table, and crafting with the world. I had no idea, in that moment, that starting that blog would one day lead me to where I am today. It’s definitely not the path I intended to take.
Sometimes life gets in the way. An unexpected illness, the birth of a baby, a job loss, a pandemic, or maybe caring for elderly parents.
Yet sometimes it’s a nudging at your soul that calls to you. You can try to ignore it, but it doesn’t ever really go away. Then one day you respond to that nudge and your life changes for the better. That’s when The Birch Cottage blog was born!
Let’s back up for a moment and take a little trip way back to the 1970s when I was a little girl who stood in total awe of the magic her mother made with a sewing machine (or a crochet hook or embroidery hoop, for that matter).
From just about as far back as I can remember (hello 1967), my mother sewed. She sewed for other people. She even had a sign in the front yard that read: “Sewing & Alterations by Ann”.
She was an amazing seamstress. She could turn nothing into something beautiful. She could turn a lady’s dress into two summer outfits for my sister and me.
When I was about 10 years old, my mom FINALLY agreed to teach me to sew. I started sewing and totally fell in love with the idea that I could make my own clothes.
There is so, so much I’d like to tell you about my mother. She was an incredible soul who’s life was taken when I was only 18. I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing her. And although she’s been gone for over 40 years now, I find I’m still learning things from her.
Things like family and making fond memories with the ones you care about most really are the important things in life. I owe my love of sewing, crafting, and family to my mom. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her influence.
Sometimes when I look back on my life, it feels as if it’s a story about a fictional character.
Did I really leave my home state of Ohio less than a year after my mom passed away and move to the beaches of Florida?
Did I really have four children spanning over 16 years with my first husband?
Could I have foreseen that he would battle cancer and lose his battle way too soon?
Or did I know 25 years ago when I met my husband Lenny that we would someday marry, combine our families of 7 children and have some of the best of times, with some of the worst of times?
In the midst of all life threw my way, a few things remained consistent. Family first and my love of all things handmade.
I think making things reminds me of my mom and it’s the very least I can do to honor her.
My husband and I lived together for a number of years and were finally (finally) married in 2015. I feel as though I’ve known Lenny my whole life and that he’s always been a part of it. I can’t imagine my life without him.
Lenny suffers from a rare disease called polycythemia vera – which is a disease that is classified as a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm. Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. In simpler words, it’s a type of blood cancer.
Although he was given a life expectancy of 10 years some 20 years ago, I’m happy to report he has beaten the odds. He certainly has bad days and is not the person he used to be, but I am so very grateful he’s still here. Every single day of his life he is in pain, uncomfortable, sick, itching, and occasionally life throws a new symptom or complication his way.
But, he never, ever complains. He doesn’t even like to tell me when he’s feeling especially under the weather.
Fast forward to 2021 where I took a leave of absence from my full-time job in our local school district, sold our house (that’s been in my husband’s family for over 50 years), and moved to a quiet little house by a small lake. We made this decision for a number of reasons. Most important – quality of life in a place where we can enjoy the time we have together and make incredible memories with our children and grandchildren.
We never thought or imagined that we would marry, have a great relationship with all seven of our children, or that we’d sell our house that we spent years renovating into the home of my dreams and settle down in a house in the woods by the lake. But, here we are!
The Birch Cottage
If you’ve read this far, thank you!
You just might be wondering how The Birch Cottage blog fits into this story. Well, I started The Birch Cottage blog as a way to share information with our maturing children and extended family.
I have always loved to sew, crochet, bake, cook, craft, embroider, and DIY with just about anything. I also love sharing this information and skills with my family. My girls (Heather, Stephanie, Morgan, and Kristen) all know how to cook, crochet, sew and bake (as well as other skills, like ceramics and fishing).
The boys (Brandon, Phillip, and Owen)? Well, believe it or not, some of them have gotten into other creative venues, like 3D printing or music.
I share creative ideas here on The Birch Cottage with the hopes that it will help inspire you to craft.
However, my story’s not over! In many ways, I feel like it’s just beginning. And I hope you stick around as I share creative ideas right from my new “crafting studio”.