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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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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Heartbreak, sewing and new starts

Where do I start?

We have been home for almost two weeks. 

An hour before we drove into the driveway we got a call from my youngest son to say he had broken up with his long time girlfriend. The girlfriend who was living in my house and filling  it with her transplants.

I really like this girl but the family saw this one coming. Different directions.

What it meant to me immediately though was a heartbroken very nice girl in my house when I arrived home. To make a long story short she stayed with me for a week and a half. I did everything I could to support her. It really, really tore me up to see her heartbreak. But at the end of the day it became clear to her that living in my son's childhood bedroom crying and having the mother of the guy who broke her heart make her tea wasn't the best way to heal.

I am sure she will be just fine. I expect I will hear from her from time to time in the future. She really is terrific, but the right guy for her is just not this guy.

That happens.

Between you and me having someone that sad in the house wore me out. You want to say, listen hearts are stronger than you think. One of the best things about getting older is knowing that, but of course you know that only because when you were 25 someone broke your heart and there are no shortcuts. When you are older you can see the humour in even the really terrible things, if only fleetingly, and you are better able to take care of yourself. For instance if that had been me I would have sat myself down and started ordering fabric - that always helps.

In fact when all this was going on I did some sewing. I made a knit straight skirt and this top:

The Madeleine from Stylearc.

I was pretty pleased with it (pictures pending, my photographer is out of town right now) and wore it to an extremely weird event where two former politicians who have each written books stood on a stage and accused the other guy of lying. I was supposed to be moderator.

How do I get mixed up in things like this?

At any rate here is my in the outfit sitting down. 

Pictures are interesting.

I realized that all that extra fabric bunches up when you are not standing in your bathroom admiring your wonderful sewing in the mirror and I have since taken in the side seams and tacked up the wrap a bit since I wore this then. That's what I will show you when I get the shots snapped this weekend.

Anyway here I am dumpy on the stage:

Finally I was so sorry to hear Nancy Zeiman is dealing with bone cancer. My daughter who is a paediatric oncology nurse always says that the reason folks get nearly all cancers is just bad luck, but I was so sad to see that this is something Nancy has to deal with. Hopefully her treatment will go well. She certainly is one tough cookie and so many of us are rooting for her.

If you haven't seen the statement she put on on youtube here it is

Sewing with Nancy was such an important part of my life when my kids were small. Catching that show was a highlight of my week - a time when I got to concentrate on something that interested me. As soon as they could walk my kids knew that when Nancy was on mom wasn't going to do anything for you until it was over. Not get you a bandaid, make you lunch, rescue you in the bathroom.

In fact I can remember standing with the three of them in the grocery store unwrapping a book from Nancy I had just picked up at the post office she had sent me because she had used one of my hints on the air. My hint was actually published in the book and I was thrilled. To my little kids this made me a star because they sure knew how important Nancy was.

You know I was probably far prouder at that moment than I have ever been at anything else I have done, the world reflected in the picture above included, maybe particularly.

The things that the world thinks are important or impressive so often aren't the things that really matter to you most, you know, but only you know that.

I heard from an old boyfriend this spring, a source of a broken heart 40 years ago. We have both gone on to happy lives, me with Leo, he with Stanley, and I am so happy our friendship has returned to us. In fact I am sending off all those photos from years ago to him. They have his mother and a brother he lost in them and those belong to him not me.

In one of his messages to me he wrote that he had read my blog and was happy to see I was still sewing, because "sewing was always in your blood." I found that someone remembered that about me enormously comforting in a tough week.

All this is in my mind because yesterday I think I may have found the person who could replace me at my job. As of the end of August I am leaving full time teaching and going to be doing only a course or maybe two some terms. I love my teaching but need to open myself up to the projects that have been waiting for me.

It feels good.


Jodie said...

Hi Barb:
Good to hear from you. Wow, interesting times for you now and in the future. I wish you the best in the future and look forward to what you post when you aren't "fitting in" sewing around teaching. I'm 3 weeks of classes to go before exam break, and although I love all my students, I'm looking forward to a bit of a break. Take care!

Fabrickated Kate said...

Nice story.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I was wondering how you were doing and if you had gotten home from Florida yet. Glad that you are home safely, sorry about the girlfriend drama. Boy does that seem weird to type at our ages! *smile*

It's an interesting thing, I had the same rules in my house when Nancy came on. My daughters died or hurt themselves at their own risk because I took that 30 mins every Saturday for me. But what's interesting is that at the time, I never realized that there were a bunch of women out there doing the same thing. What's even more interesting is that I've met quite a few of them either IRL or through social media.

Nancy has had a long reach and touched quite a few sewists. I hope she comes through this new health challenge with flying colors!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you look dumpy at all, the color is great and your facial expression is hysterical. But wow it doesn't look much like the sketch on the pattern? Or I'm confused.

Yes, hearts are so much stronger than we think at that age, some lessons are painful however.


AlaskaBerninaGirl said...

That picture of you moderating is a classic, the faces that were caught at that moment! Funny.

So sad about the heartbreak and Nancy, really is.

The blouse is cute though, I need to make that, interesting the pooling though.

And, congratulations on the semi-retirement! Good times await you.

Summer Flies said...

I am so glad you have found someone to replace you at your work. Onto other things. Your outfit looks ok in that photo, can't wait to see the real pics. I love your reflections.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Barb! Describing yourself as dumpy is diminishing to both yourself and to the reader's thoughts. We shouldn't confuse being humble with demeaning yourself. You look terrific in the photo.

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

Hi Barbara. Just want to say hello. I'll be visiting your blog as you begin the next journey in your life. BTW-you look fab on the stage. The colour of your outfit makes you look radiant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barb

Your blouse looks great. Can't wait to see more
In the 90's I watched Nancy to relax, she was calm, collect, even temper. I now see her with a different set of eyes.
Nancy is irreplaceable.
Thanks for sharing.


SuzieB said...

Hope you spend more time in Florida after the semi-retirement!

YOU look great while moderating the political forum - although the photo doesn't really show details of your clothing.