Sincerely, Shantelle

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Wow. 2019 is at a close & I've completely abandoned this ship...and by ship, I mean blog. I'm not here to make excuses...because I've made a billion of those before. But I'm here to just own my shortcomings and give myself the grace I know I deserve. I started out this year with the goal to push myself to sew every week. This "challenge" was to encourage me to try new things, new techniques, and learn and grow as a sewist. As the year went on, I took on various responsibilities in the sewing world, from more strike teams & pattern promo teams, admin positions for a pattern company and a couple fabric companies, and even started taking step photos and writing pattern tutorials as a part time job. As a result of being so involved in various aspects, I sewed well over 300 items this year. THAT is something to be proud of, and I think my initial goal was more than accomplished!

Sewing: Over this past year, I've had the (most often) pleasure of sewing for over a dozen fabric hosts. I've held positions on a good handful of pattern testing and promo teams, as well (some of which I still remain on). Through pattern testing, I sewed my first swimsuits, I've sewn various types of plackets, tried a few different binding techniques, sewn woven and knit, sewn with my machine, sewn with my serger, even done a little of the much dreaded hand sewing. I've filled my kids' closets with beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces, which they get many compliments on and wear often. I've added pieces to my husband's wardrobe that he is equally proud and happy to wear time and time again & I've worn my own makes almost every day. I've been asked to be a part of a couple blog tours. I've even added a few new how-to posts to my blog. I entered three pieces I made into the Delta Fair for the very first time, and THEY ALL WON BLUE RIBBONS!! I was so overjoyed with that and it was definitely unexpected! I also took a part time job as a step photographer and pattern tutorial writer, which in and of itself has challenged me several times. To go alongside my sewing, I've pushed myself to learn my camera more than ever, and I've seen my photography style change and grow as a result. For the first time ever, this year, I was paid for my photos to be used on the cover of a pattern! To tie this pretty little bow on all of the growth I've experienced in my professional life, on November 1, I launched my very own kids' clothing line, Webby Threads! Here's a look back at a few of my favorite makes, including my first swimsuit, my first strike sews, and a couple others!

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Life: This summer, we were able to take our first ever "real" family vacation, and our babies got to go to Disney World--something my husband and I only dreamed about as kids. Our 3 year old started attending MDO in the fall, which has been great, in terms of socialization and giving me a little free time to work. He was already a smart little bugger, but I love that being in MDO gives him a chance to still grow (though I could definitely do without the perpetual booger-nose he's had since staring). Also, over the past year, I've explored my faith a little more. Though it has grown, I know that I haven't fully allowed God to do all I know He can and wants to do in my life because I've left doors closed and locked, too afraid (ashamed?) to allow Him to look in. Despite my unability to 100% submit and allow the Lord to fulfill His will in my life, I have been able to see his goodness throughout it all. I have woken every morning to a beautiful family with a clean, safe home, and been able to provide a hot meal every night. We haven't had any major health concerns in our immediate or distant family. The car may have gotten a couple extra dings this year, but is still holding up and safely getting us from point A to B. Though finances have looked a bit different for us the latter part of the year, His provision has always blessed us enough to make ends meet and a little more. Regardless of all my flawed, imperfect humanness, God has been so good, time and time again. He has shown me over and over again that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I think it was really this year that that clicked & I can't say that I have ever been so grateful for Jesus. Here are a few highlights from Disney! (Some of them loaded in sideways, one upside down. I'll fix it sometime....🙄)

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An image from Sincerely, Shantelle
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All I can say is "WHAT A YEAR!" What a year for my family. What a year for growth and learning. What a year for watching my capabilities and abilities expand and transform far beyond what I believed I could do. Maybe I didn't tick off every little box on my sewing challenge this year, but I surpassed the goal of sewing one item a week, most definitely! While sewing goals for next year won't include a weekly challenge, I do intend to keep sewing my heart out. I'll be transitioning to a much more manageable monthly challenge (details to come). One of my hopes is for Webby Threads to have its first booth at an event or craft fair. I also plan to enter Delta Fair again in the upcoming year, and spend some time taking online courses for sewing and photography to advance my technical knowledge on the subjects (I've already secured a 1-year subscripion to Bluprint to get started). As for my faith and family life...expect NOTHING short of greatness and positivity. I hope to find a team to faithfully serve on at church and a life group or two to press in more than ever. I hope to be more commited to the things of Christ and less of those of the world. I've found several verses in the Bible that have been a source of comfort in times of need this year, and am finding ways to incorporate them into daily life and provide the extra strength I need to get through the weak-feeling days. I pray that this is the year I am able to remove the locks from the doors and let the TRUE God work begin.

May 2020 be filled with courageous faith. More bible reading. Risk taking. Chain breaking. Loving wholeheartedly. Great and improved health. New skills. Prosperity. Homeownership. Abundant natural light. Restoration of all things broken. Positivity. Happiness. Kindness. Pressing in. Believing for nothing but greatness and silencing voices that say otherwise. May it be the best year yet.