About me

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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Staycation summary

I started my stacation in workplace mode, with a huge to-be-accomplished list in my head, with a very clear idea of what my ideal output at the end of the week should be. What I achieved in the end was quality, not quantity, and that was a lesson in itself.

In my sewing life this is what I did:

1. Perfected a really nice dress pattern. In fact I have decided that if I sew only this one dress pattern this summer, with variations I will have all I need to wear to teach my summer courses, plus a few separates and what I already own. It is still February. I can actually see a summer wardrobe of all I need (these are the operative words and suitable for these times I think) within my reasonable grasp. Anything else I make will be just for the fun of it. I have decided, really decided, that I am tired of always feeling that I am working behind deadline in my sewing life, I feel enough like that already in the rest of my life. My new aim is to live so I can feel caught up, rather than live always feeling like I am behind, in more areas of my life - even if to achieve this I have to simplify (patterns and pattern ambitions for example) and attempt less.

2. Cut out and serged, and in the floral case already posted, underlined with more China silk, four more dresses in the my really nice dress pattern. Fabrics are posted. You can see I am still going on my bright theme. I lay in bed this week when I woke up and looked at my winter wardrobe hanging in the closet. All so dark, like a nun (no offense to nuns and I note that even they are wearing colours these days), or a postal worker, or like the meter man, or meter person I should say - why go institutional when life is so short? Uniforms after all are the ultimate classic. I'm thinking it's time to bring back sharp.

On the thinking-about-life front my sewing time also gave me the time that I realize now was so so overdue to think about larger issues. The incoming recession/depression was one of those issues. Like everyone else who was counting on investments to fund at least part of retirement I realize that there will probably not be all there what I had planned for (spent a bit of time with the calculator beside my sewing machine - trying initially to figure out when I could retire sooner so my staycation life could become my whole life - last kid to get through school still though and bills still to pay). However I realized this:

I love being at home in my own environment sewing along, cleaning and cooking when and if I want, visiting by email, in my sewing group, by phone and in person with friends and family. If that's where I am headed, with a few trips a year to visit family in other places, and not on cruises and big trips, well that will be just fine. Just fine. I realize that the people are my real adventures and my real aim is just to have more time for them, not places.

I have reached a time in my life where I understand exactly what makes me happy. How good is that?

Sewing settles me right down. Having time to sew, not under the gun with the thought I should be doing something else, rights this boat. I don't know any other way to explain it but having a free week to sew has made me feel twenty years younger, more like myself than I have felt in a long time. I am teaching a lot right now, course overloads in fact, and with all the other things that go on I feel like I am giving out every minute I am awake. I really needed to reel that all back in to the centre where I discovered I still am. Intact. I have to schedule more mini-staycations into my life. I will let you know how I manage that.

I also need more fabric. Yes that is right. An order from Fabric Mart arrived in the middle of my week (see cut out fabric above) in record time and I was so glad to see it. For the very first time in my life I am now finding myself wanting to make something but unable to find the fabric I need to make it. I am out of China silk for example. I have a trip planned to DC/Baltimore in April and that will be very fabric focused.

And finally more than anything I realize how much I needed this sewing staycation. I am going to look at my calendar for the rest of the year and see where I can find more.

How about you?


gwensews said...

I agree on all counts. I'm not a working woman anymore. I love being home, and could care less about going on a trip, unless it means a fabric store. For some of us, an ideal vacation is uninterrupted time in our sewing rooms.

Marianne said...

I so wish that you can find more weeks in your year for sewing stacations. Sewing should be a way of getting away from everyday life, sure something to make space for in a busy diary, but not another stress making process. Don't set goals, make a wish list if you need some structure to your time and then if you don't get everything on your wish list - well we can't always have all we wish for, life isn't like that, it's not the end of the world and you don't feel bad about it. If you have goals and don't achieve them, then you feel bad so don't go there. It's been such a pleasure reading your blog today. I found you on the big list btw.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Ohmy have you just said a mouthful! I have used staycations for the last two years to keep me centered and grounded because of the very demanding job I now have. Yes the job brings rewards and monetary assurance with it but those days and weeks at home, centers and grounds me and allows my creativity to flow without any restrictions. I need that!

I read your post shaking my head yes and smiling because I understand so many of the things you wrote. I really, really, really want to take a summer off - 3/4 months to do exactly what I want when I want. I have been working for 20 years straight with no breaks and will probably have to work another 20 because of what the financial meltdown has done to my retirement plan...so I want one spring/summer of relaxation, creativity and time for me before I fall back into the workforce for another 20 years and retirement.

So yes, I understand the calm you felt by staying home and it was about more than accomplishing things on your to-do list!

a little sewing on the side said...

oh we will shop for fabric in April!