Whimsy in Work November Feature Dreams Achieved, Now What?

Finding Whimsy in Work November Feature
Dream Achieved Now What


We all have dreams and hopes for our lives.  Many people are still planning and trying to pursue their dreams.  My October  Whimsy in Work featured a woman who was actively chasing her childhood dream.  Then there are people who are able to say they achieved their dreams. The November person I am featuring, Jenny Sparmo of CookiesCoffeeandCrafts.com, achieved her childhood dreams, so now what?


I first “met” Jenny on Instagram. As a card maker myself, I really enjoyed her fun designs; they look as if they could start to move. I really appreciated the time and love Jenny clearly put into her cards. You can take a look at more of Jenny’s cards at her shop website, follow her on Instagram or Facebook or check out her blog.

November Whimsy in Work
Jenny Sparmo of Cookies, Coffee and Crafts

Childhood Dream Achieved

Jenny is one of those lucky people who achieved her childhood dreams of becoming a teacher and then a mother. “When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of being a mom and a teacher…” Jenny was a Kindergarten teacher before she decided to stay home with her children. But after a while, Jenny felt what many stay-at-home parents feel, a blurring of self.  She felt like something was missing. “I had my dream job of teaching Kindergarten before I had my two children and now, I have the joy of being a mom to two adorable munchkins, but I felt like I was becoming lost in being a mom”.

Many stay-at-home parents who left a job or career they enjoyed feel this blurring of the person they used to be. Career used to take priority and it was one of the ways we described ourselves. But as stay-at-home parents, priorities become the daily needs of your children and household. It is hard especially when children are very small and can’t do much for themselves. It is so easy to focus on the day-to-day care of small children that everything else is secondary if it is even lucky to make the list.

There would not be so many articles on self-care for parents if we were good at making time for ourselves. But Jenny learned like all of us eventually do, we need to make time for ourselves and give some time to the people we were before we became parents. I needed to do something for myself. I have been a fan of scrapbooking, and a huge of fan of Pinterest for a long time.” Jenny realized she needed a creative outlet.

The Push to New Dreams: Blog and Business

Like my other Whimsy in Work features, the Push factors into Jenny’s story as well. For some people, the push comes from a person who doesn’t know you, but in Jenny’s case, the push came from someone who loves her very much. My husband motivated me to start my blog and share with the world all the projects I create.” He was so inspired by the things she creates that, “One day he created my blog for me and I started blogging.”   With her husband’s love and support, Jenny was able to find a new dream, her blog and then her online shop. “He is my biggest supporter and my tech support (this is his career field). He helps, encourages, and supports me every day and keeps me motivated to keep learning and creating to help my blog grow. Without him, I would have never started. My husband is the best thing that ever happened to me because of his love and support I will move outside of my comfort zone.”

This little turkey is so cute!!! Jenny has 4 other crafts that would be adorable for next Thanksgiving.

Jenny’s blog features craft projects and tutorials. My favorite post so far was the tutorial on how to make this adorable wooden turkey and several other Thanksgiving crafts. I can’t wait to see what she will create for the Christmas season. She also opened an online store to sell her lovely and whimsical items, you can check them out here.

Jenny’s Take-Aways Finding a New Dream

  1. You need to invest in yourself: Whether it is tools or time, you are always worth it. “For Christmas a couple years ago my husband bought me a Cricut Explore and it changed my crafting game forever.
  2. Find an outlet that makes you happy: “ My favorite thing to create with is paper and I love creating anything with paper…  I started making handmade cards and the cards made everyone so happy that received them that I decided to create and sell my cards, gift tags and banners… The joy my cards bring is priceless and I love the smiles when someone opens one of my cards.”
  3. There is never enough time: creating blog posts, creating and promoting items for my shop, and being a mother to two small kids and a wife.
  4. Think about what is important to you and what is your big picture: “Time is my biggest challenge to make all of the above happen because my children come first.” But you find a way to find a few moments here and some moment there to keep working on your own dreams.
  5. Find a community: “The most rewarding part of blogging is meeting other bloggers and the positive feedback on my crafting projects. The blogging community is amazing with everyone helping and encouraging each other. Plus I love knowing my crafts and tutorials help other people create and make beautiful crafting projects.”
Beautiful cards and other gifts made by Jenny Sparmo.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about Jenny, how she had to find some time for herself and when you achieve one dream set your sights on another.  To see more of her lovely work, make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook and check out her website and shop.

Cheers, Amy

Chasing a Childhood Dream: Whimsy in Work feature

Chasing a Childhood Dream







The first Whimsy in Work feature focused on a person who found whimsy in work by changing her environment and striving to find balance in her life. My next feature is a woman who is chasing her childhood dream, Rachel Madej of Rachel Antonia Designs http://www.rachelantoniadesigns.com/.

Check out Rachel’s beautiful work at rachelantoniadesigns.com

I first “met” Rachel via Instagram when her beautiful illustrations stopped me in my scrolling tracks. Her work is fun, so colorful and jovial in nature that I was inspired to know more about the artist. I have found her to be fun and warm just like her illustrations.


If you need a little whimsy in art form then you need to follow Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook page.

Chasing her Dream

As adults, we often discount our childhood dreams as childhood whimsy, maybe some of them are, but often times they can give us insight into the things that really feed our souls. When Rachel was a child she wanted to be an artist and a business owner. It was only recently that she brought these two dreams together.

“I had two dreams when I was growing up. One was to be an artist and the other was to own my own business. Funnily enough, I never put the two together until about a year ago! Now I’ve started my own company selling my illustrations on prints and products (It’s still crazy to say that out loud!) I’ve got ideas and products in the works that are set to debut in November of this year (2017)”  

We can try to follow our dreams; we just have to learn to integrate them into our adult life. Rachel is doing an amazing job integrating her childhood dream into her adult working world, but she did not take the leap to pursue her childhood dream lightly.  It has been a process and one she has taken very seriously. “I had been doing so much research, taken so many classes, and literally every bit of spare time was spent with me curled up doodling in my sketchbook trying to build a collection.”

Even spending countless hours researching, planning and creating, there comes a point when the researching and planning phase has to come to an end. What comes next can be the scariest part of any dream or career shift, the actual doing or making the change. In some cases, we need a push.

The Push

Many people can suffer from “analysis paralysis”, it is just easier to keep gathering information and keep planning rather than make a decision to do something. Sometimes we need a push to get out of the researching, creating and planning stage. The push can come from anywhere, it can be a person or an event or a feeling you get one day to just stop planning and just try. I think the push that comes from a person you do not know, and who does not have any time or feelings invested in you could be the most intimidating.  Rachel’s push came from a stranger who looked at her art and judged her illustrations. This person looked at what Rachel had and she told her whether or not she had what it would take; how scary!

“After doing months and months of research, creating, and planning, I met with a woman named Jennifer Ferri recommended by my friend Kara. (Hi Kara) She said to me and I quote ‘ I’m going to look at your art… and I’m honestly going to tell you whether or not you should do this.’ That was one of the scariest moments of my life because whether she told me yes you can or no, it still meant I had to leave the comfort of my researching and drawing stage of life that I’d become accustomed to…”

Clearly, Jennifer saw what I see in Rachel’s work, beautifully drawn and whimsical illustrations, but I had to know, what if this outsider had told Rachel to throw in the towel?

Art work by Rachel Madej
Look at these beautiful art pieces. I love how this little owl makes me smile!

“Honestly if Jen had said that I wasn’t good enough…I would’ve been crushed. I would’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t and I probably wouldn’t have finalized all the paperwork in July. However, I know I would’ve asked what I could do to make it work, or where I could make it work, if it wasn’t printed art, maybe it would’ve worked on fabric or I could find a wallpaper rep. I would’ve done the research to find out how to make it work because it’s my dream. So maybe I would be on another path right now,  but it would still be me working toward incorporating my art into something more. And honestly, I’m sure I would’ve found myself here again at some point in life because of the “what if” factor. It nags at you and I’m not one to give up.”

Rachel’s Take-Aways from Chasing Her Childhood Dream

  1. You can’t know everything. ” It seems like it’s self – explanatory, you can’t know everything… But when you’re investing countless hours and a really large sum of money, you want to know it’s going to work.”
  2. It takes guts and courage to start your own business. “I love when I get compliments and when people want to buy my work… But honestly, I’m just really proud of myself. I’m twenty – three years old and I’m paying for college, working 30 hours and taking full-time classes. I’ve had this dream since I was a kid and I just decided to go after it full force. It gets unbelievably stressful sometimes, but it’s worth it and it’s rewarding to feel that I made an investment in myself.”
  3. At some point, you must stop planning and try.  “Everyone is terrified, no matter how successful they are. They were all scared at one point and they all took a big gulp of air and plunged into the unknown – and so can you.”
  4. You have to make time for your dreams. “There’s never a right time. I’m smack dab in the middle of a million things, but I’m making it work. You can make your dreams fit into your schedule.”
  5. There are people who can and want to help you. “There are free business classes, meetups, friends in the industry, family who knows someone who knows someone. I went to the University of Hartford for a free business class. (I don’t go to that school) I emailed my family accountant for business advice. My brother’s friends mother happens to run the craft show I’ll be displaying my first collection in. Connections are everywhere so start making a list of everyone you know who would be willing to help you. (P.S. – I can be on that list!)”

Rachel has a section on her blog devoted to helping other artists turn their passion into business 

I hope you have enjoyed learning about Rachel, her process of chasing her dream and seeing some of her beautiful art.

Whimsy in Work: Chasing a Childhood Dream
More beautiful illustrations from Rachel Madej of Rachel Antonia Designs

To see more of her lovely work, make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook and check out her site.











Finding Whimsy in Work

Finding Whimsy in Work
My First Whimsy in Work feature.









I love reflecting on crafts, traditions, and recipes that bring me joy. It has been really easy to find joy and whimsy in everyday life when I am focused on my boys. Children are natural whimsy seekers, I think it is much harder as adults to find whimsy and joy every day, especially when day to day life, being an adult and work takes center stage. Because work plays such a major role in adult life, and I believe we could all use more joy and whimsy in all areas of life. Each month, I will feature a person who is pursuing their dream or passion. I hope this feature will be inspiring and encouraging and give people ideas of ways to find whimsy in the working world.

Being an adult is a constant juggling act, I wrote a whole post about the parental juggling act, but as adults we are all juggling roles and obligations to our partners, families, friends, and employers, our homes, the list can go on and on. Many of us are seeking balance or trying to find joy in our work.

Whimsy in Work
My first Whimsy in Work Featuring Kristin of New Life Carving.

My First Whimsy in Work Feature

I am so excited that my first feature is my lovely sister, Kristin. Two years ago she and her husband quit their day-to-day grind jobs, sold their house and moved to Montana in favor of more time to do the things they love. They started a business New Life Carving and have made time to camp, fish, hunt and enjoy the wilds of Montana. Her dream is to find balance in work and life. Kristin wanted to enjoy more of life and not to live only for work.

            “I moved to Montana two years ago for many reasons. The main reason for me was that the career I had carefully chosen and at one time loved, became something that drained me instead of creating happiness and satisfaction. Once my husband and I took the plunge to quit our jobs, get our house ready to list, and sold our home in three days; we found ourselves with more open doors than we knew what to do with…My husband really wanted to start our own business…I realized how little I knew about running a business, but we dove in and went for it, creating a custom wood art and sign business called New Life Carving.”

You can check out Kristin and her husband, Mike’s amazing work at the New Life Carving website and on their Facebook page and their Etsy Shop. You can get to know them better by following Kristin on Instagram.

New Life Carving Products
Some of Kristin and Mike’s wonderful work from newlifecarving.com

Their decision to change their environment and occupations came after attending a consulting firm’s seminar on the idea of retiring as you go. This seminar pushed to the forefront a feeling Kristin had been battling with for a while. “It became clear that I needed to leave the career that I thought I would have for the rest of my life.” The seminar gave Kristin the push she needed to pursue her dream. Her dream has not come without challenges or doubts.

Doubt creeps in…

Sometimes when we make a big decision and take a risk, people will doubt you.” When I gave my notice, my boss asked me what I was going to do. I told him I was going to start by being a full time dog mom and go on all the hunting trips my husband and I wanted to go on. He laughed and said I could have my job back anytime I wanted.” Doubt will come from others, but Kristin found it also came from herself. “A challenging aspect of creating balance in my life would have to be the doubt that sometimes creeps up. Doubt always wants to remind me of how little I know, how I have failed to create that million dollar product that makes and sells itself, how silly I was for thinking I could do anything else…That is when I have to remind myself of how uncomfortable my old comfort zone was…. I was living only for the weekend and vacations.”

To help overcome the doubt that can creep in, Kristin found that taking time to reflect on her experiences and reminding herself that she is giving it her best effort to live her dream. She has control over her time and day-to-day activities. She has discovered many rewards in her experience. “Most rewarding of all, I have found my identity in hobbies and work instead of just the paycheck… I laugh more at myself than I ever have before. This is a big deal for me as I have a tendency to be a very serious person.”

There have been ups and downs and her journey has not been perfect. But if you can learn something, even from what is deemed a mistake or failure, then there is value in the experience.

Kristin and Mike of New Life Carving
Making more time to enjoy the things they love to do.

Here are Kristin’s 6 take-aways from her experience to live a more balanced and more joyful life.

  1. Whatever you say yes to means you are automatically saying no to something or someone else.
  2. You can take as long as you want to get somewhere or to create something.
  3. Write down your goals along with a timeline and then imagine how you will make that happen.
  4. Get used to saying you failed and made mistakes.
  5. Don’t let those mistakes and missteps stop your dreams, let them guide you back to the drawing board and reevaluate.
  6. Realize that you don’t have to achieve all your dreams. I know this sounds weird but life is in progress and as a result, your ambitions and goals will continue to change. That is what makes the process so exciting. 


I hope you enjoyed reading about my sister finding balance in her life in attempt to bring whimsy to her world of work. I am looking forward to bringing you a whimsy in work feature each month.

If you have a story about finding whimsy in work you would like to share with me and my readers, feel free to send me an e-mail at discoveringwhimsy@gmail.com with the subject line Whimsy in Work.