This has been weighing on my heart for quite some time and I have finally made a decision that I would love to share with you. But first, I feel that you should know the story behind my starting Oak + Willow:
A few years ago, a lack of money and some bad financial decisions combined with ridiculous medical bills from my cancer treatment had myself, my husband, two babies, and a dog living out of the tiniest RV possible, 22 hours away from family. Living on food stamps and nearly homeless, we struggled to get back onto our feet. It was our rock bottom and something that I never share with people, but I feel it's important for you to understand where I am coming from.
With the help of our families, we were able to travel back east and rent a house. Unfortunately, we had given away or sold 90% of our belongings to live out of the RV. We eventually started to gain our footing and become more financially sound. But now we had this rental house with absolutely nothing in it. We acquired furniture slowly when we were able, however our finances were completely strapped. We definitely did not have money to spend on any home decor or anything that would make the house feel and look comfortable and pretty. Can anyone else relate??
So there I was, still pretty early into my marriage, in remission from my battle with cancer, and trying to get over this ocean we felt like we just kept drowning in, two babies to care for and needed to make the home as happy and comfortable as I could. As a wife and mother, I have always felt that it is my duty to make the home cozy and a safe and inviting place for my family to be. Now I know you can definitely have a happy home without home decor...but let me explain.
I have a lot of pride and I don't like proving people right. So I felt embarrassed whenever extended family would come over and saw that we didn't have anything "pretty" or decorated in the home. I felt embarrassed that I didn't have or couldn't afford blankets and pillows, or even nice washcloths to clean my dishes. Those were luxury items.
I lost so many night's sleep feeling like I couldn't provide for my family. Worst of all, my boys knew something was wrong because their emotions have always fed off of mine. So despite me trying to put a happy face on, I couldn't fool them.
Then...I made the decision. I would start my own business. It would allow me to stay at home with the kids, earn some income, and most importantly, help those that are in a similar position.
*Now for those reading this saying, "Why don't you just go out and get a job!?" Anything I would have made would have basically equaled out to the money we would have had to spend on childcare. (And we only had one car, which my husband used to go to his job.) And mental issues combined with still healing from treatments and back to back pregnancies, prevented me from holding a steady job.*
I started Oak + Willow because I absolutely love home decor and I love helping people. More importantly, I never wanted someone else to feel my embarrassment of not having anything to decorate their home or to make it feel warm and inviting. I feel emotions harder than most and I try my hardest to put out good into this world by helping others.
Which brings me to my announcement: I will be offering all future patterns for free on my blog. Eventually I will try to go back and include some of my past patterns on here for free as well (it's just a huge undertaking with 40+ patterns and will take a long time).
My goal with this business has always been and always will be to help people any possible way I can. I want to show people that by simply learning how to crochet, they can take a ball of yarn and a hook and create a handmade home they are proud of. I just personally want my business to align with my heart, so I will have my patterns on here free to use.
I want you to have a home you are proud of. When your family or friends come over and compliment your dishtowel or pillow...you can smile and say "I made that!" You can proudly watch your family use the item you created over and over again for years.
I will still be offering ad-free pdf's on my website and in my etsy shop, if you prefer or have the means to pay for the pattern. But I have felt in my heart that this is the right decision moving forward. If this helps even one person, it will be completely worth it. 🖤
Happy making. :)