Slow down to the speed of life


When I gave myself permission to take a break this fall, I had no idea how much I needed that break. And having taken a bit of a breather, it’s clear that I need to slow down to the speed of life.



Shelly’s StarFlower project

It’s not that the past couple of months have been quiet. Far from it. I moved to Chapala for the winter, traveled to Atlanta to teach at the All Things Silhouette conference, painted scale models and the full size image for my next embroidery project and completed a sample for the CraftCast course I’ll be teaching in February.

Last week, I traveled to Minnesota to take my sweetheart to the doc for a (very successful) skin cancer procedure and then packed him up and brought him back to Chapala for the winter.



Simple priorities

And now it’s time to slow down to the speed of life. For the first time since I started my business 20 years ago, I’m giving myself permission to stop thinking about the next big thing for the business, the next class, the next blog post. I’m giving myself permission to think about the next cup of tea, the next stitches to go into my project, the next visit with a friend, and the next dinner with Jack. For now, that’s enough.



The top of El Castillo from the neighbor’s rooftop patio

While I take this time to learn how to live in my new home, it will be interesting to see what I miss – and what I don’t. I’m curious to see happens.

Can I switch off the observer in me that sees everything as a potential blog post? Can I stop feeling the need to take step-by-step photos and just “do the project” instead of “documenting the project?” Can I stitch for the sheer enjoyment of stitching instead of thinking about how I would teach someone else to stitch?

To be honest, I’m not sure how this is all going to play out. It may be great fun, and it may be a bigger challenge than I’m up for. I’ve been doing, doing, doing for a long, long time. Jumping into the next big thing is my default mode. Giving myself permission to stop – or at least to slow down – is kind of scary.

So, what’s next? That’s a great question!


Starry Night Journal Cover


Starry Night journal cover CraftCast project

First off, I’ll be teaching a class on CraftCast in the beginning of February. (No, I’m not totally disappearing into the woodwork!) The live webinar will be on February 3rd, and the replay will be available for on-demand viewing a couple of days later. We’ll be stenciling on fabric with Shiva Artist’s Paintstiks and then turning our painted fabric into a Journal Cover. (My journal cover is sized to cover a Composition Book.)

I’ll send out more details about the class as we get closer to the date – or you can click over to CraftCast and register now.


Then what?

After that? I’m really not sure. I’ll just take things one day at a time for a while and see what bubbles up. I’ll most likely pop in here and there with a short note. Just no regular schedule – at least for now.


  1. Leanne on December 14, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Good for you! It’s about time! =) Love the colors and design on the 2nd photo from the top! And I remember that Batik…one of my favorites. Enjoy your time down in Chapala and tell Jack ‘hi’ from me. Have a wonderful holiday season together!

    • ShellyStokes on December 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks, Leanne. As you well know, I’m past due for a time out. I’m having great fun with images and colors from the craft work here in Mexico. They suit me to a T!

  2. Mags Bonham on December 14, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Glad to hear that Jack’s surgery went well! Enjoy your down time. Looking forward to your Craftcast class.
    Happy Holidays

    • ShellyStokes on December 14, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks, Mags. It’s great fun to just sit down and stitch. And lovely to have my sweetheart here in Chapala with me. 🙂

  3. Linda on December 14, 2017 at 10:43 am

    So good to hear good news !
    I tried to “retire” aka, ‘slow down’ last fall. It was a wonderful feeling to take the pressure off of myself. Now I find myself creaping back into it.
    Enjoy Jack’s company!!

    • ShellyStokes on December 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      I hear ya, Linda! I don’t think I’m ready to retire, but a sabbatical is definitely in order.

  4. Barbara Wright on December 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I also took some time to slow down this fall. It turned out to be a change of pace, but not really a restful time. I ended up working on a major fund raiser for a prison ministry group. The event was very successful. After it was over, there was a let-down time. I find myself easing back into my stitching and projects for enjoyment and loving it. Will ease back into teaching in January but at an easier pace.

    Enjoy your time of rest and relaxation. Have a great holiday season with both of you together.

    • ShellyStokes on December 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks for your note, Barbara. I totally understand your comment about the let-down after a big event. I’ve been there many times.

      I’m truly looking forward to some down time. We’ll see how long I can make it last. God bless (cursed?) me with a very busy brain and I have yet to find the “off” switch!

  5. Cindy Peterson on December 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Love the idea of “slowing down to the speed of life.” Good for you. Enjoy!

    • ShellyStokes on December 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Cindy. Learning to live on “Mexican Time” can be challenging on a good day, but I’m working on it!

  6. Elizabeth A. Franck on December 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    You certainly are in an environment that marches to the beat of
    a different drum…… Soak up the magic of Chapala and Mexico. What an opportunity to spend time with your husband and family as you see where exposure to Mexican Folkarts and Culture take you ….. R & R is so important!
    You packed so much into the two classes I took from you that I will be returning to them for a long time. It would be wonderful to touch bases
    with other class participants periodically with even a small challenge activity or something like that …..
    Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and your husband.

    • ShellyStokes on December 15, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m glad you have plenty to keep busy with for a while. I like the idea of a “meet up” for the students. I’ll put that on the “ponder” list as I’m stitching.

      It will be interesting to have our first Christmas away from the snow and cold of Minnesota. The staff here at the hotel and condo are having a special lunch next week and have invited us to join them. It should be great fun!

  7. Rebecca Muir MacKellar on December 14, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Glad that you have taken some time to chill. I did do my organ recital and it was very successful. Tonight I accompanied two choral groups on seven pieces, so that is over, My hands are quite sore, but Christmas is coming and lots of hours of music to play. After that, I have a list of things to finish.
    I have been working on paint stick stuff, let me know if you want to see pics.
    Have a relaxing time for the holiday season and best wishes to you both.

    • ShellyStokes on December 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

      I always love to see photos of your work, Rebecca. The last set of pics of Kaleido-Designs looked fantastic! It’s truly a pleasure to see what you (that’s ALL of you) make with the things you learn in class and from the blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

  8. Sherry on December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Shelley, I am trying to do the same thing -slow down – and it is not as easy as it sounds. After years of being self-employed, taking care of an elderly mother and doing all the things that seem so necessary it is hard to decide what is important and what isn’t. If I don’t cross something off The List every day I feel like a bum. If I spend the day in my quilt studio I feel like I’m being selfish and neglecting my duties. I’m looking forward to reading your insights into the process?. Keep us “posted”. Sherry

    • ShellyStokes on December 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Oh, I hear you, Sherry! Self employment only looks glamorous from the outside. Perhaps you need to put the things that feel indulgent on The List. Then you can cross them off at the end of the day. Come to think of it, maybe I need to put those things on MY list! 😉

  9. Sherry on December 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    LOL! I like that idea of putting the indulgent things on The List! I’ll give it a try