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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, October 9, 2012

About blogging and being a noticed blogger

A little while ago I congratulated the Mood bloggers.

Coincidentally, I heard from a few folks who were not happy they were not chosen.

Listen, it's a great fabric store. 

I am quite happy to be a private citizen who can go there as this is allowing me to disguise my visits to a much missed son as fabric buying trips. I love Mood, and whole lot of other places in the garment district, and I have been thinking of them all there in NYC increasingly as the fabric store at the bottom of my hill becomes increasingly depressing.

That's where I am. Frankly my sewing is more about experimentation/stress relief/fooling around than distinguishing myself at this stage of the game when there is so much going on.

But I do understand. A long time ago I wrote a lot for Threads and had a good time doing it. Everything I thought was interesting they thought was interesting and that was just great.

However somewhere a long the line the editorial direction changed and I started to be sent ideas and fabric, and what I was doing for fun became an assignment. I remember being asked to do a piece on stripes and was sent some high stretch silk (try matching stripes in something really stretchy, under pressure) in a colour that I would never wear and more or less hated.

So I decided to give it a pass unless the project was what I wanted to do, and let's face it what I want to do is pretty erratic.

I admit however feeling slightly disgruntled when I saw other names in that magazine, even though the simpatico editors I had worked with had moved on, even though I had moved on.

It was no longer my turn.

I also had to remember that just because someone else was doing a great job didn't mean I wasn't.

This is a lesson I seem to keep learning and re-learning in my life.

In the family I am no longer the big cheese, although it causes me great pain to admit that. I thought around the table last night that I no longer am the one telling the funniest stories, I am more the listener, and more the person who packs up the leftovers, and does the dishes in a quiet house.

Of course I would give everything to have one of those meals we used to have, everyone at home, everyone on the verge of a food fight, but that stuff is happening more often than not at other tables.

But I like to think I was the one who taught them to make people laugh.

I just checked and there are 7 billion people in the world. Being a really deep thinker I have figured out that means I am not always the one chosen and that the high points are just going to come and go in my life.

I stopped doing radio when I was introduced as someone who used to be as a political operator and I don't want to be known as a "used to be."

Which sort of brings me to blogging, although not really.

Why do any of us blog?

To be famous, discovered, appreciated?

Well some bloggers are, and good for them because there is a lot of work in excellent blogging.

Sometimes I am slack about it and I am well aware that the garments I show are not as wonderful as the clothes I was sewing when I had more time, and maybe when I took it all more seriously too.

Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it, particularly when someone emails me and tells me off, but then I read a comment and someone tells me that they spit out their coffee when they read something I wrote because it seemed true or funny to them that morning and I kind of find it reassuring to know I am not alone in the world.

Don't we all?


Far said...

You are not alone in the world :) I love reading what you think about and how you see things. Sure there are plenty of blogs out there, and the reasons bloggers blog also are different. Even a blog/blogger's reason to blog also changes with time etc, after all nothing remains constant but change in itself, no?

Corrine said...

What I used to be is no longer what I am. But in many ways I will always be that person. I blog because it is a fun thing to do. When that fades, I won't. I wrote a little piece about the Mood bloggers as well, mostly just a line to share. Your musings are entertaining and informative. It is a glimpse into a life. And yes, sometimes my coffee spurts out as well. Works for me.

I sew for different reasons now. When I reached the "milestone of middle age" I became much more an observer of life. I miss the times that were so busy that life actually felt animated, over-charged at times and even frantic. But my current melancholic state translates to my sewing in comfortable clothing, in special fabrics that speak for themselves. I no longer strive for the perfect anything, what ever occurs or results is perfect enough for me.

Janine said...

barbara , yours is one of my favourite blogs - you are down to earth and write alot of truths that seem to resonate with me or sometimes have me giggling etc ( and I still read your articles in my Australian Stitches and Seams ). I blog for fun and to share pattern reviews as I seem to sew unpopular patterns and I figure perhaps one day someone else will - I have always found pattern reviews very helpful . I would miss your blog if you stopped. Also I think it is important our self esteem comes from ourselves and not rely on external gratification from others - that will lead to disappointment etc so I think congratulations to the mood bloggers but hope that the bloggers who are upset about missing out will move on and not let it affect them.

Janine said...

Oops I meant Australian Stitches .

Meg @ Mood Fabrics said...

Great post. Say hi the next time you are here visiting your son (oops, on a fabric buying trip).

SewRuthie said...

I love your blog. It makes me laugh. It makes me think. It teaches me stuff about sewing. Thank you. Love Ruthie xxx

Patty said...

Amen, sister! Another great post. I too miss the chaos of a full house, *most* of the time. But I'll admit to enjoying the peace and quiet and time to myself.
I agree with your assessment of the bloggers' world, and I think it's big enough for us all to find a place.

annie said...

Wow. If people don't like your blog, well that is what the reset arrow (or whatever they call it) is for. Like the tv set - you don't have to watch a program if you don't like it. As far as not being chosen to be on a particular list, I didn't realize that was the point of blogging. Stupid me!

Now. As far as your blog is concerned, as I have told you before, I love it. It makes me laugh and we all need that. I needed it yesterday when I read just-loaded-the-dishwasher kind of thoughts. I am older than you and thankfully with the same partner for 52 years, though I still want to strangle him from time to time. But I have sons and daughters and daughters-in-law and grandchildren and a kitchen and a cranky Viking sewing machine and a heavenly Bernina 810 (the latter thanks to a blog you did on that). I look forward to your blog popping up on my screen and read it first. Like a lot of other things, I imagine you will quit someday but I fervently hope it won't be anytime soon.

Karin said...

Spit my coffee out, no. Funny and true- yes!
I love your blog, for the sewing yes, but also for the broader insights.
I blog because it means I'm not an isolated beginner sewer. If I had career ambitions from it, I'd have to up my game by an order of magnitude, lol.g

Anonymous said...

Mood is definitely getting the better deal with this network. For the (wholesale) price of a few yards of fabric, it is buying talented designers, sewists, writers, photographers and a direct line to its targeted audience. The person at Mood who dreamed this up should get a big raise. As for me, I wouldn't want the restrictions of producing a garment every month using fabric from a specified source.

Shiny Green Penny said...

What an insightful post. Thanks for sharing a great perspective .

Meg said...

Your post was just what I needed to read this morning. Not about the blogging, but life in general. The shifts and changes, and especially the changes with our children and how that then shifts us as our roles as mothers and being a woman on this planet. Thanks, and hi from the Gold Coast, Australia.

gwensews said...

I surely don't want the pressure of having to produce anything--ANYTHING. Not that I couldn't-I just don't want to at this point in my life. More power to those who do want to. Best wishes to them.

marysews said...

Being given an assignment like that puts too much pressure on me. I like to sew WHAT I WANT to sew and WHEN I want to sew it.

Anonymous said...

So frequently I find you have captured more gracefully (or funnily) something that is going on for me - and here you go again.....thank you! Now I can think about it in a more organized way (perhaps....).


Deborah said...

Sweetie, you can't quit. I entertain my husband by reading him what you write. I love your blog. I miss you on the days you are too busy. Deb

velosewer said...

I love reading you deep thinking posts when I get the time. It's like listening to a friend who is happy to share.
I basically blog to share my sewing projects with others and keep a log of what I'm making.

Laura said...

I agree with the anonymous commenter who said that Mood is getting the better end of this deal. These are some high-visibility sewing bloggers and they should be getting paid for all the promotion they're giving Mood, not just getting a piece of fabric each month out of it. Similarly, I am a writer and unfortunately a lot of people will agree to write for free for 'exposure'. That can work if you have very specific goals and a short timeframe, but usually it works out to you giving your time for free. I'm willing to do that for a hobby, but not for something I do for a living. And if it's a hobby and I'm doing it for fun, I'll surely be doing it on my own terms and not someone else's.

I too enjoy your philosophical thoughts and hope you keep posting them.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, don't ever quit your blog, it's one of my favorites!

jirons42 said...

I love your blog and look forward to each post, not only for the sewing post, but also your humor and your deep thinking posts (like this one)

Linda said...

I enjoy reading your blog and it gives me sewing inspiration as well as a good laugh.

Bunny said...

You have given me more "spit up my coffee" moments than anyone on the internest and I truly enjoy my visits to your blog. I honestly don't care what you sew. I just really really enjoy your writing, your crazy husband, your flypaper comments, and all the smiles that you have brought me. Priceless!

Rebecca Clayton said...

I like combination blogs where people write about a range of topics that interest them--these are the ones I read year after year. The single-purpose blogs (which are the ones that get you cool Mood gigs and can be "monetized") I read for a while to learn something, then move on.

I just went from adjunct faculty to full-time at our community college, and I enjoy it when you talk about what you're doing there and how it impacts your sewing. Somebody else has exactly the same odd issue I do! My poor old blog is sorely neglected because I can work and sew or work and blog, but I can't work and sew and blog, and obviously, what does one choose?

As for unpleasant comments, I love the "delete" option. (Not that I get many...it's mostly crickets chirping over at my blog.)

LinB said...

My family gave me a themed birthday party this year: Cheese. Along with gag nametags (Old Goat Cheese, Aged Cheddar) I was gifted with a big plastic squeaking rat, and a Burger King crown with the letters The Big Cheese glued across the front. I'm keeping the rat, but I'll mail you the crown if you'd like to have it. Part of our journey in life is learning how to let someone else in the-crowd-with-whom-we-travel take the lead now and again. (You can still be a backseat driver, btw.) It's really hard to relinquish that control; but it is in many ways a relief not to always be the one behind the wheel. Feel better about yourself. We love you.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, your musings and the things you create. I had discovered many blogs through Pattern Review and there are some awesome sewists out there. Some of the ones I loved reading announced they were part of the Mood Sewing Network and I was immediately disinterested. I'm not interested in seeing what someone can make with high end luxur fabrics. I want to see what regular folks who have to live on a budget can create.

For me, "having" to produce a certain garment would suck every bit of the fun right out of it. If aspiring to fame or writing a book or having a program is the goal of a blogger I certainly have no problem with that. I'm just not interested in that sort of blog.

corsadriver49 said...

I have been lurking around your blog for a month or so, having found it on a link from Pattern Review but this is the first time I have wanted to comment.
This is so resonant! I'm just a little older than you and, like you, had a demanding life teaching, which I decided to give up some years ago. At first I really missed being the one everything revolved around (I missed other things of course, like the kids) and I almost felt I had lost my identity for a while.
Then my daughter and daughter-in-law started popping out babies, five so far, and I realised that I was no longer the lynchpin of the family either. Life now has to revolve around them and their needs.
So I've leaned these lessons just like you and I'm sure loads of others have as well. It's something to do with making your mark on life and no doubt, as we get older, we feel we need to do it sooner rather than later.

Nearly everyone commenting on this post has remarked, quite rightly, I think, that it is great for the bloggers who have been given the Mood awards and we wish them well. But we read your blog because of you, because of who you are and your take on life, your incredibly clear way of seeing what's worth seeing and commenting on it. It doesn't matter to us if you haven't been chosen by Mood or anyone else for that matter.
My advice is don't give up your blog just yet. You've lost your sense of place in the sewing world temporarily but you'll get it back.
And you'll be just fine with the grandchildren. They're very forgiving!

Anonymous said...

Please know you are read by many of us lurkers who never comment. But my life is better because of your blog. I usually laugh, occasionally try a new pattern. And on days like today - when the post hits close to home, I feel that there are others (at least one) out there in world having a similar experience.
Just wanted to say 'thank you'

Anonymous said...

have just found your blog for the first time and already feel inspired! pearls of wisdom, moments of self-doubt, oh-s@%t moments AND fantastic sewing- what's not to like? You have certainly made me feel loads better about getting older, getting it wrong and getting on with it all the same! Thank you!

Catherine Daze said...

What an interesting post. As always you give me plenty to think about! I really enjoy your blog.

bluemooney said...

Your blog is always the first one I turn to. I am beaming appreciation to you from afar!

Not to take away from the bloggers who were chosen by Mood - they have put time and effort into their blogs- but the "popularity contest" nature of all social media on the internet is a little sad.