Category: DIY

Winter Slow Down & #24DaysofPresence

OMHG Winter Slow Down 2014

This December on OMHG we are taking a collective deep breath and putting the brakes on for the great Winter Slow Down of 2014. Think of it as a season of slow, or a holiday without hustle, permission to ease into a winter of contentment and calm-even if life is swirling around us. Whether you are a maker,  small business owner, shopper or someone who hides from the rush, it can be hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season and end up overwhelmed. Commitments like packing orders, promoting sales, events, shows and magic making for our families are all important but we often prioritize them over rest and then need to squeeze in simple goodness. What if this year we all made our own policies that protect our right to slow down for one month a year? It starts here!

Instead of regular posts and social media-ing from December 1-24th OMHG is celebrating a new kind of advent with our #24DaysOfPresence challenge. For the weeks leading up to Christmas take time to document the gifts each day brings whether it is a lovely sunset, a sweet note, or a quiet moment then share them (or don’t!) with the hashtag #24DaysOfPresence. Connect with others who know that the real treasure is never presents but the gift of presence. Once we slow down we can start to pay attention to where our presence is most needed in our lives and communities. Why is being present not only for ourselves but especially for others so very hard?

Jean Vanier on Presence & Doubt #24DaysOfPresence The thought of slowing down causes many of us to become doubtful and we fear whether there is any real value in being present. Get some help busting those obstacles from our community and by being clear about your plans for the winter. Let your friends, family and customers know that you are taking part in the Winter Slow Down by posting one of our badges on your website and social media or write up your policy for a season of slow.

Here are 10 suggestions for things you could change to help slow down this season: 

  1. Prioritize connection & pay attention: Slow is a reminder that more isn’t always best, so focus on the connections you do have whether that is providing customer service with humanity and care or paying attention to what you and those you love need most.
  2. Take a break from regular blogging & updating: Let your readers and followers know you are taking a break and when you’ll be back! Link them back to this post and give them permission to slow down too.
  3. Reduce your online time: What if you only logged on once a day for one hour? How about once a week? Try limiting the time you spend online and focusing on real connection when you do plug in (setting a policy for what days you are available helps!).
  4. Limit answering email to one day a week: Set up an email autoresponder to let people know you are not as available this month, once you’ve made it a policy you are more likely to respect your own boundaries!
  5. Set a firm cut off date for placing orders or shutting down operations: Don’t go taking orders or setting up more work right up until the final hour, if you’ve ever made the mistake of agreeing to custom orders shortly before Christmas you know how big of a stress-reducer this can be! Let everyone know what days you will not be available and stick to it!
  6. Schedule rest time after social time: Social events are tiring no matter how extroverted you are. Build in rest time instead of going from one holiday party or show to another so you can really enjoy the events you attend.
  7. Start Distraction-Free Sundays: Are you able to turn off all the things for one day a week? In our house we put all the devices in one room on Sundays and only use them if there is an emergency. During the winter we try to keep the TV off, avoid commitments and wear our cozy clothes all day, we make big meals (and offer to share with others).
  8. Set your own hours: Start work an hour later or quit an hour earlier every day. If you have a day job go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. Use the time you made for resting.
  9. Create a ‘time out’ spot in your home: Whether it is a nook or a chair at your dining room table spend one hour every day there working on something you love. This can be playing board games with your children or planning out your meals for the week- whatever brings you joy.
  10.  Remember memories matter: Just like you can create policies to protect your slow season you can create a holiday philosophy that is all about making memories not making purchases. What kind of memories do you want to make this year? Use those as a guide to make your strategic plan for slowing down.

In solidarity with our season of slow after this week OMHG will be publishing just a couple of posts (one is a big one on the reason slowing down is personal for me) before January of 2015 when we’ll be back with a plan for the new year. Our last public #OMHG chat of the year is December 11 and our community will be hosting a video party on December 18th for citizens from 12-2pm EST on my 32nd birthday!

Thank you to our talented Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn for sharing her pattern with

Do you struggle to slow down and be present at this time of year? What will you prioritize during the Winter Slow Down? 

Amy Turn Sharp Writing Workshop

ATS_WebGraphic2 I met Amy Turn Sharp on an Etsy team in 2009 when we were both selling handmade goodness for kids and I fell hard for her wild words & smart mouth. We all have hearts full of stories we are afraid to tell and finding Amy’s truthful writing was like getting a permission slip from the universe to share my own. This gift helped me start OMHG so other makers & misfits could gather to swap their stories + skills, leading to Amy and I finally meeting up for grand adventures at Etsy HQ in Brooklyn, and Alt Summit in Salt Lake City. Someday we’re going to have a slumber party under the stars complete with ink stained fingers, belly laughs, and the best kind of story telling. Until then I invited Amy to host our first OMHG virtual workshop and help us all write our hearts out + we’re throwing a party (with prizes!). Join in by downloading the free workshop workbook, sharing your writing with us right here & being part of a special #OMHG chat with Amy on November 20!

1. Download your Amy Turn Sharp Writing Workshop workbook

Designed with love it is full of prompts and a printable of Amy’s advice for becoming a writer (or realizing you already are one).

Amy Turn Sharp Writing Workshop  on OMHG

2. Write like a maniac!

You don’t need to have a plan, here is what Amy suggests for digging into the goldmine of words you have waiting inside you:

In my writing workshops I encourage people to write like maniacs with pencils and pens. Try it. Shut the computer and see. I’m convinced it makes something happen. Magic. Most of what you write is just getting you to the bits you need if you keep on writing. Nothing is ever trash. There are often whole stories in messy pages of your words. You have to go mining. Revising. Get to the well. Dip in. Write every single day.

Amy Turn Sharp Writing Workshop  on OMHG

3. Come party with us

We’re meeting up with Amy on Thursday, November 20th at #OMHG on Twitter from 1-2pm EST. Come write in real time, ask questions and see how much goodness we can fit into 140 characters. Find out how to join us at #OMHG here. 

4. Give your words away (& get gifts in exchange!)

Share your writing inspired by the workshop here in the comments with our community. We’ll choose a few winners together to gift signed copies of Amy’s beautiful book Hold Me Like Ohio printed by Igloo Letterpress and 3 months of OMHG community citizenship where you’ll find an audience of warm, supportive listeners waiting to connect with your stories. Winners will be chosen and published on OMHG November 27th, so get writing!

Amy Turn Sharp Writing Workshop  on OMHGClick to download your workbook + Amy’s printable advice on writing 

ATSAbout Amy: My name is Amy Turn Sharp and I’m your girl. I’m a poet and a wild one. I write poems and other such nonsense on the internet. I also work in the social space for an ad agency and freelance for magazines. I have the prerequisite first novel in a drawer at my house. I have lots of dreams. My family owns a little cottage industry called Little Alouette. We’re toymakers. It’s pretty cool. I wrote a poem every single day for a year.  It was crazy. I’m a rebel. I’m a lover. Let’s write.


Are you ready to be a writer? How do you prompt your muse? Let’s write!