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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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You need a strategy

Karin wrote something last post that really made me think.

In a real life how do you take care of yourself in a reasonable way?

I guess that was behind my question about the nails. 

And of course it's not just about the nails. Although I have to say it's cultural too. Three months in the South I can tell you there are more nails painted here than up north in Nova Scotia, where really so many women of my age don't wear much make-up a lot of the time. Unlike say Montreal, where I spent formative years, where grandmothers were seen with false eyelashes at 7:30 skating practices on Saturday mornings.

Back on topic. 

What you don't do is as important as what you do do, I have decided. Otherwise you just wear yourself out and that's not the point.

So here's my shocking not doing list, which of course will be totally different than yours:

  • I don't colour my hair anymore and I threw out most of the products my old hairdresser insisted I use. You know the one who straightened my hair and was a proponent of the "you have to suffer to be beautiful" school. Listen I don't have great hair but letting it go natural to me is part of self-acceptance.
  • I have decided to let it get simple at home. The house has been heavily used by all the people who have lived in it. Assorted family, kids who have come and gone, even friends of kids who have lived with me at various stages. We put in a new kitchen because the old one was falling apart but that's it. I think we just need to repair, repaint and maintain but that's it for me. I am not into investing any energy in decorating or renovating or major landscaping. From here on in I'm into easy. The no maintenance yards here in Florida appeal to me - although I think my next door neighbour would stroke out (you know the one who dusts each blade of grass and looks over to see if I am doing the same - nice woman but not a sewer). I have lived very happily here in a someone's else's space and there is a message there. I am going for stress free house not necessarily dream house. To me personally it's what you do in a house that matters.
  • I have given up on collecting "classics." I actually have more fun with costume jewelry and I lost one of my diamond earrings years ago. To me nail polish is sort of like jewelry. Investment dressing? For what? To me that implies tomorrow will be the pay-off day, not today. That's for bank accounts not wardrobes IMO.
  • I am determined to sew only what is:
    •  Comfortable 
    •  Fun to sew 
    • Makes me feel cool. 

Think about that, it really eliminates a lot of projects.

So that's where I am today.

I also want to keep trying new things and on that note is are some shots of my husband and I last night when we went out for dinner for his birthday. I never would have made a maxi dress and never would have made anything with green in it. Goes to show.

The usual bossy shot


Sewfast said...

That maxi looks amazing on you Barb! I really like the concept of keeping it simple, but that doesn't mean we can't try something a little different. I'm on the verge of a wardrobe purge. Anything that I don't wear or don't love has to go. I may be not have much to wear when I get done, but I've realized that life is too short to not be true to yourself. We only get one shot at this...I think! :)

annie said...

You resonated with me when you talked of living in "someone else's space." When we retired, I was looking for a major change and my husband was looking to stay where we had been for 30 years. Not unusual, I understand. We wandered a bit and ended up in a ski resort for most of one winter. It was delightful in many ways b/c it wasn't my responsibility. And I'm not sure I "missed" my stuff in storage but I am also not sure that was b/c I could have it back. Over the years, I have pruned fairly dramatically. You know, I won't ever get to that project/idea/fantasy kind of thing. Or I won't ever use that cake pan or fancy sauce blender. And I'm tired of dusting that piece of decor. But I will want my hair to go to the grave colored!

shams said...

You look great in that maxi dress!

I agree with most of your guidelines, especially sewing the comfortable but cool (as in funky, for me) clothes. I love to dye my hair red and am not ready to give that up. Red hair is more "me" than my previously mousy brown. But one day I hope to grow out some gorgeous grey, or salt and pepper, hair. :)

Sunni said...

I love this! I too agree with most of your life guidelines - though I'll admit that I like to decorate here and there, but believe me the bug doesn't catch me nearly that often. I too, don't color my hair - mostly because I'm a redhead and every time I go to a stylist to get my hair cut, I hear just how wonderful my natural color is and that makes me happy. I'll admit that I don't think the rest of the world agrees, but at least stylists know that my color can't be replicated (as with most natural hair colors I think) and that makes me feel like a million. I LOVE your thoughts on sewing a wardrobe and not just investment pieces. Totally genius!
xoxo, Sunni

Krista said...

I love the dress, Barb! Looks great!

cherriss said...

I almost like you in your don'ts list!

Pixie said...

yep, great dress. I am so enjoying your posts lately...please keep em coming. All this telling it like it is - is so great!

Belinda said...

Love the dress and love your attitutde! Keep it up. It's taken me a while to figure out that simplicity is key. You found out a lot faster than I did.

You know you're one of my favorite reads!

ReadyThreadSew said...

Fabulous dress. I decided when I was in my 20s that I would never dye my hair on a regular basis. I have occasionally used a temp dye but never more than that. Now that I'm 45 and going grey I'm enjoying seeing the grey (and a lot of white) appearing.

I also really like your sewing goals. I aim for "comfy and looks nice".

Calypso Flowers said...

I decided about 12 months ago not to dye my hair anymore - I was 58 then. I was getting it cut short, and I thought - it's now or never. I decided to try it through the winter months, when we are indoors and hibernating more, and if I hated it come summer, I'd dye it again. I now really love it ! The hardest thing was adjusting to my new 'tone'. I used to be reddish brown, & a warm complexion. Now I'm much paler, but hey ! I just HAD to sew new clothes in new colours. Talk about makeover.

SewOm said...

You look fab in that dress! And really happy, too. Your husband really loves you, doesn't he? I'm also really enjoying your tell it like it is posts. Please keep them coming.

Karen in VA said...

I'm loving your posts these days...and you look absolutely fab in that maxi!

Patty said...

You and your husband look so happy! and you look marvelous in your maxi....