Looking ahead to the future of Dust + Waves...

Looking ahead to the future of Dust + Waves...

Hello, friends! 

It has been a while since I’ve been able to sit down to do a big update on what has been happening, how things are feeling/going lately, and what changes lie ahead for the future of Dust + Waves. This is a long one, but here we go… (This is the big blog version. If you’d rather have the cliff’s notes version, I’ll be sending out email newsletters for each of my announcements as they’re ready.) Keep in mind, this is just the beginning. Everything outlined here is the plan so far, there's even more ahead! 


People always tell me, “you’re so busy!” And honestly, yes I am. When I’m not working on my biz, I’m working on house projects or personal projects. We are a household of hobbies. My fatigue (more on this later) hits me the most in the mid-afternoons, and you know some days I just stop working after lunch and take a nap. And thats okay! I love being busy and feeling accomplished in my tasks. I have always been this way, its just how I’m wired. I value rest and reading and spending time with my partner and getting out in the garden, too. 

What they don’t tell you about being self-employed is that you’ll spend the least amount of your time actually making your products, and the most amount of your time doing marketing, computer work, brainstorming and planning, bookkeeping, and then keeping your fingers crossed for a profitable month. Okay, maybe a few people tell you that, but we don’t talk about it enough. It can be hard to not feel imposter syndrome or to be continually having to come up with new ideas when it feels like you’re screaming into the void. 

The silver lining for me is: I LOVE WHAT I DO. I am a maker and creator at my core, and I spent many years doing this for free or underpaid because I have things inside of me that just need to get made. I am privileged enough right now that it is my job (and by that I mean I have given myself the space and means to do it and to work really hard at it every day). It is not easy to be your own business, but for me it is easy to create. I am so thankful for that every minute of my life. Sharing it with others is such a joy. I have never been more proud of anything in my life as I am of what I make. 

But its a delicate balance to be in business with yourself.  


To top it off, social media has felt like a black hole lately, a steadily declining space to share with a community that I’ve been nurturing for so many years that just can’t beat the algorithm. I’ve been trying to figure out how to save it, but so few people are actually seeing my posts these days (lets say maybe 200-300 out of 9,000+ followers) that it feels like a lost cause - except those few hundred people who are seeing me deserve my full attention. I’ll gladly do it all for them. But I’d honestly like be doing it for the rest of my audience as well. And I know tons of other folks are in the exact same boat and very frustrated, too.

To be perfectly honest, since building my e-mailing newsletter list through my website, and knowing I have other ways to connect with folks, I have not put all of my eggs in one social media basket. I do truly love seeing what everyone else is up to, though, and I know I’d feel a big empty gap in my life without that. I’ll be continuing to share on Instagram posts and stories, but perhaps maybe not quite as much. (On weekends I lurk over at our house Insta @black_cat_cape.) I’ve been so lucky since starting on this full-time self-employment journey last October that I’ve been able to reach enough of my audience to stay afloat - I know that many small businesses have struggled. 


I will continue to send out newsletters via email, so if you regularly hear from me there, that's good! Feel free to reply back to let me know you’ve received it or just to say hi. Inevitably every time I send out a newsletter, there are a handful that get bounced back to me as undeliverable, due to the recipient’s email provider settings. They think I’m spam, which is unfortunate. If you’re one of those folks who has signed up for my newsletters, and you never see it in your inbox - please check your spam folder. If its there, move it to your inbox and click a link or reply to it to make sure it ends up in your inbox! If it isn’t in your inbox or spam folder, chances are good you’re on the bounce-back list, and I’m sorry. 

The newsletter continues to be a good way for me to get info out on shop launches and other important information, but I do from time to time also like to update you all on life happenings. Mostly though, I use it for shop launch notifications. So get on the list!


I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to work most efficiently, what I want my life to look like, what kind of business I want.. And I’ve been trying to listen to myself more. What my body will allow. What I want to spend my time doing. What I want to offer into the world. I’ve really listened and started to hone in on what my customers want to see and want to buy. I knew from the beginning of starting a business and eventually going full-time self-employed that I would put in a lot of time and effort into everything I make, but its just been recently that I have figured out ways to make it more sustainable for myself and for all of you.

I think its a luxury when a business or a brand can exist without sharing how they got there, why they got there, and how they stay there. I recognize people would much rather see the pretty process rather than the reality of life. But honestly, I truly value my connections and friendships with other small business owners who show the real stuff alongside the pretty stuff. I don’t like thinking that its always easy for others or that they’re never having to worry about paying their bills – I want to know what its really like. Transparency and vulnerability leads to trust and growth in business, just like any other relationship. I like knowing there’s a real life person behind their photos/blurbs/sales/etc. My face and my heart and my body are all parts of my business too. 

Hormonal changes have kicked me in the butt over the past year (I just turned 44), manifesting in a lot of strange ways. My frozen shoulder - likely perimenopause exacerbated by my previous dayjob (which thankfully subsided after physical therapy, dry needling and leaving dayjob). Full body aches - perimenopause. Extreme fatigue - perimenopause, maybe a touch of long Covid, and definitely the lifestyle of previously working two jobs. I can’t put in quite as many hours of work per day, and find myself exhausted pretty easily - which, if you know me, is just not at all what I’m used to. My heart palpitations/tachycardia that the ER thought was a virus - perimenopause! Anxiety.. Heat and sun sensitivity (did not have this problem in the desert!).. Hot flashes/cold chills.. Gut health issues..  Insomnia.. Night sweats.. Vertigo.. Sensitivity to sugar.. Weird allergies and head to toe itching.. You guessed it… All associated with hormonal changes/perimenopause. 

I’ve got a new medical plan in place with a new doctor, and hoping to see some small changes (my anxiety has gone down quite a bit, at least). But its going to be a process. Just having all the weird things that my body was/is doing actually validated by a doctor (which weren’t even touched on by my PCP - her only suggestion was Zoloft, which I hated - or the ER who could only tell me that I thankfully didn’t have a blood clot and likely had a virus) was super helpful - he didn’t bat an eye at my list of symptoms, he simply nodded and said, “oh yes, you’re in it”. I had a career in anesthesia and operating rooms for over a dozen years. I’m not an idiot when it comes to health, medicine, or my body. But I was starting to feel that way… 

This is not a call for sympathy or advice. Its simply an explanation of where I’m at. If any of you have gone through any of this, then you know how life changing it can be - and for me it snuck up pretty quickly. A lot of these symptoms have changed how I feel day to day, how much energy I have, how much brain space I can use, etc. I have found myself scheduling my daily business work based on how I feel, and am very careful to not overdo it. There is a lot I haven't shown on social media. Some days I can go hard for a while, and other days its really tough to even get out of bed and stay out of bed. Every day is different and I pick up the slack where I need to on days where its easier to do so. I do most of my work in the mornings, because there are some days I'm totally useless after lunch. I used to be able to work all day everyday as hard as I could. I can't do that anymore. And honestly, I don't really want to. 


This means I’ll be changing things around here a little bit.

This is where my refreshed business model and plans come in. 

For my QUILTY people: I will likely be offering fewer quilts per year than I have been recently. This means I can really get into and excited about the ones I design and make! I will still be making coordinating pillow covers, too... But maybe taking a little time to make a few quilts for myself for a change - there are so many I want to make! I love offering them out into the world, so I won't be stopping - I'm just going to take away a little bit of the pressure I've put on myself this year to pump them out so quickly. Quilting will always be where my heart is, and it will never go away. You can count on that 100%.

For my WEARABLES people: I will be discontinuing doing wearables for the most part, and will only be offering them once a year moving forward. I'm doing a big closeout sale on them over Memorial Day weekend (see email newsletter for details). They will likely be launching during the winter holiday seasons only. I will also be reducing the amount of different types of wearables I offer - it is just way too much to do lots of styles and lots of sizes and lots of colors - particularly if some don’t sell well)… Overall, I’ve always been a little on the fence about dyeing wearables, as some of you know, and I know that once again cutting way back on them is the best decision for me. It has never truly felt like the best use of my creative brain, sourcing well made products and inclusive sizes has been hard, and keeping things affordable on both sides is tough. In the end, it just doesn't feel like the best fit for me and what I hope to offer. I know some of you will be disappointed because you shop with me exclusively for wearables, but I got ya around the holidays! 

For my FABRIC people: 

This is what you love most, and what I love making the most! My fabrics above all else are my best sellers, and I truly enjoy the process of coming up with the colorways and dyeing them and then offering them out into the world - and I want to lean into that all as much as possible! I started dyeing fabrics 7 years ago now because I wanted to make the types of fabrics I couldn't find in the store. Knowing how much other people appreciate that makes my heart so happy. Hand dyed fabrics are so special - I know this as a quilter and fabric lover myself. They are little pieces of art - and watching you all use them in your own projects and pieces of art is the greatest gift. 

I will continue with my fabric shop launches as I have been! There will be more themed launches! I will likely be doing some smaller launches, but more often. The goal is to be able to offer fabric launches the way you're used to, but more of it. I have the space and time to be able to do this in a way that I can keep up with, if I am not trying to juggle it with a bunch of other offerings. Focusing on the fabrics feels like the best place to sit with where I'm at and want to be. 

More dye experiments coming. New colorways - I'm hoping to break 200 this year. I’ve been playing around a little bit with all of these things and am looking forward to continuing to offer more! You seem to really love it all, and I do too.  I will be revisiting some different dye processes and styles of dyeing, including the "old" way I used to do it when I first learned (racks vs "muck" dye etc), in order to offer a wider variety of styles/aesthetic of fabrics. 

I will have a new small themed fabric launch coming up soon - I’m super excited about the theme and I think you will be too! Stay tuned! I already have several more themes planned for the rest of this year as well. 

And, I will also be introducing a brand new fabric line - a large selection of special colorways that will be available in my shop all the time! Info on that coming soon…


I will be launching a new monthly dyed fabric subscription program!  

Signups for this exciting new offering will be via Patreon.com (launch TBD/TBA). If you are unfamiliar with how Patreon works: you will be able to choose a recurring monthly tier subscription, each tier at different price points (paid monthly). Each tier will include a different size cut of my Patreon exclusive Colorway Of The Month (a brand new, experimental, or tweaked colorway in my recipe library of over 150+ colorways) - charm square, fat eighth, fat quarter, half yard, or one-yard tiers. 

There will be weekly Patreon-exclusive content (photos, videos, etc) that will only be available there, and it will allow subscribers to consistently get a bit more up close and personal with what I do! There will also be other fun perks like monthly livestream chats, quilt block tutorials, shop coupons, and more depending on the tier you choose! If you don’t want all that stuff and just want the fabric, thats okay too - you can just receive the fabric and everything else will all be there accessible to you if you change your mind. All Patreon subscription content updates are automatically sent straight to your email inbox and monthly fabrics are sent straight to your home mailbox. (Fine print: Patron must be signed up by 28th of each month to receive Colorway Of The Month items. All Colorway Of The Month items ship by the second week of the following month.)

I’ve been trying to decide how to best offer this type of fabric subscription after the success of my pre-paid 2024 FQ subscription I offered at the end of last year, but I know the timing for that was tough for some folks since it was right around the holidays. The current pre-paid 2024 FQ subscription will continue thru December of 2024 and colorways will continue to be unique to that program. It will not continue into 2025 - instead subscribers can jump over to the monthly Patreon subscription if they’d like to continue receiving fabric each month. 

I know that having a monthly subscription is also great for a lot of people for budgeting purposes. Plus who doesn’t love getting fabric mail every month!? (The 2024 FQ subscription has been super fun so far!) I cannot wait to launch this new program - hopefully later this Summer - I’m just waiting for the arrival of a big order of my base fabric to arrive first before I can get going. I’ll have all the details as soon as I can and will send a very detailed email newsletter with all the info on how to sign up and participate! 

I will have the peace of mind that the online content I spend so much time creating and my work are going straight to the people who want it. It is very important to me that the people who want my content are able to get it without having to search for it hidden inside of some stupid algorithm.. Plus you get fabric!! We love that! My goal is to continue to create and nurture a close, inclusive, fun and exciting community that loves the fabrics I make and is interested in my dyeing and quilting processes.

This type of monthly subscription also helps to generate a dedicated monthly income for my business. Having a monthly income like this (aside from shop launches) will give me a consistent amount each month to allot out for supplies, etc that I need to keep the business running smoothly without any surprises. Like when you work a dayjob and have a regular paycheck come in at a certain time and a known amount that you can pay the bills with! 


Connecting with some of my quilting friends and designers has always felt like such a gift to me, because often I find myself floating on the edges of what is popular. It can sometimes feel isolating to just do your own thing all the time. Being able to really chat with, plan, and collaborate with other designers is so important! My friend Christina over at Kindred Quilt Co is about to whip up something super fun using some of my fabrics and I can’t wait to share her process and all of that with you.

If you are a quilt pattern designer and want to talk about a collaboration, please email me at dustandwavestextile@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you about making some magic together! 

Jonathan (my boyfriend) and I are also in the works to release a limited collection of self-designed bags - between the two of us and our combined sewing experience its been really fun to design some fanny packs, bags, zip pouches, etc that are on brand with my dyed fabrics, are full of the scrappy quilty yumminess I love, and are functional for you. I’m really looking forward to the first launch of these this Summer. Getting to work with Jonathan on these is so fun because our brains work very differently from each other and we make such a good team. Stay tuned for lots about that soon too!

Whew. I know that was a lot of info, but thanks for sticking through all of that!

I am reminding myself to have fun. That in all of this business, there is still space for fun. Coming up with new fabric colorways has brought me the most joy. Making quilts and handmades helps me stay creative. I’m typing this blog post while sitting in the sunshine on our back porch with our kitty Magic sleeping at my feet and freshly hatched baby birds chirping beside me in the bird house… and I am confident that all of my hard work is worth it. 

Did I quit my dayjob last year with tons of savings in the bank? No, I definitely didn’t and it was mostly unplanned but completely necessary (both for my mental and physical health). This is life. Someday maybe life won’t be like this. But, I chose this life. And I’d choose it a million times over again. It is really a privilege to be able to live this way, no matter how difficult or successful. I know that any month could be the month I have to go back into the regular workforce, and I’m not too proud to do that. But until then, I’m working my butt off to keep this self-employment dream alive... Fully accepting that dreams change and shift with time, I take nothing for granted. I have several big personal goals for myself for the rest of this year and heading into 2025 to continue to pay down my financial debts, which has been a struggle this year so far. But I'm determined that with these changes to my business plan I'll eventually see the kind of growth I strive for.

My anxiety has actually gone down since becoming fully self-employed, which feels backward. But working two full time jobs forever was just too much for me and I had been doing it for a very long time (on top of moving cross country and house buying etc). It meant I literally had no time inside of my own body when I wasn’t working. Now that I am able to make my own schedule - and even if it feels like I do have to work 24/7 on my biz - emails, social media everyday etc - I am able to turn it off mostly on weekends and enjoy other aspects of life so much more in my down time.

I’ve set some boundaries for myself and my schedule and I’ve stuck to them. And this is really important to me - more important than trying to show up on social media all of the time, or to push myself to exhaustion just to get things done. No one teaches you how to do this when you take on self-employment, and I've learned the hard way just how imperative it is to advocate for yourself. 

I'm reading books again! I know I'll never have another year like 2020 when I read almsot 50 books, but I'm happy these days when I am able to turn my brain off and read a few pages each night and finish a book a month. 

The sunshine is back. The warm weather is back. We all thaw out a little bit in these Spring months in Maine, because Winter is very long and I hibernated pretty deeply this past year. This year Winter was even longer than we anticipated, hanging around until late April with a very late season huge snowstorm. But, the gardens are finally growing. It is Jonathan’s favorite time of year - I rarely see him in the house once the gardens start to wake up, and I love how much he loves being out there tending to all his plant babies in our yard. Gardening is such a healing activity, and I have benefited from it myself also. 

Just knowing that our house and our gardens are here to help take care of us is really comforting. For all the issues we have had with our flooding basement or the mental space we have had to put into some parts of home ownership, I can honestly say that it has been such a joyful thing for me regardless. Every day that I have been here has felt really significant in ways that are hard to describe. Both of us have moved so many times and struggled through so many heartbreakingly difficult things, so to have a home of our own is not something we take lightly. I know to some people that a house is just a place that they live. Its just where they go about life and keep their stuff and sleep at night. Its just a house. It is not so for us. 

This house, for me, is an opportunity to be part of something magical. And the fact that I get to work here, too, is just that much more. 

I’m really looking forward to keeping things personal and connected as we head into the second half of this year. I’m learning so much - teaching myself so much - about business and myself in the process. I have felt the love and support from my community. I’m doing my best to ask for help when I need it, or to reach out  to people when I need another perspective, or just a friend. I know these are not easy times for a lot of people… but I can’t help but feel like all the hard work and time and effort I have put into myself over all of these years is finally starting to help me feel like the person I have always wanted to be. And I am thankful for a business and a community that helps me get there a little bit more each day.

Hang in there and stay tuned.. I have lots and lots of good stuff coming soon!!! 

I appreciate you. XO


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