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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, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

It seems to me we all like making resolutions because most of us have some degree of hauntedness about things we should be doing but aren't.

Social media and technology has made this ridiculous. It used to be that all you had to deal with was the relatives saying stand up straight.

Now Bloglovin' and Pinterest are crammed with charts on a better you that say #1 Get up earlier! #2 Work smarter! #3 Work faster!

And of course in the off time you are supposed to practice mindfulness and Self Care.

There are apps to make sure you drink enough water and get enough sleep.

Well listen.

Here's what I think. 

If you are overwhelmed.

Two things to do:


Recognize the beauty of boundaries. Women need to do this.

The way I see it what we owe other people most is this:

  • Listen
  • Recognize that if someone is cranky there are probably other things going on you don't know about. Give them that benefit of the doubt
  • Take care of as much of your own shit as you can 
  • If you need something ask clearly and be OK with the response (women in particular waste lives hoping people notice and will provide, mostly they just need clear asks)
  • Listen

Note not on this list is fixing everything, or worrying yourself sick for their sake. I remember always the advice a woman in a playground gave me about children years ago.

Don't do for them what they can do for themselves.

The flip side of this of course is that when someone can't do for themselves you can then be fully available.

If you want to eat better:

Do more of your own cooking.

The main reason people don't eat well is time. 

Figure out what you can make fast yourself and you will eat better. Avocado or tomatoes on toast is just fine if that's what you want. Make yourself a soup with vegetables in it and make salads with leftover cooked vegetables. Have this in the fridge.

By the time you figure out how to negotiate that new diet plan there will be something else on the agenda. (Note everything on Facebook is "backed by science". Also note there is more than one scientist).

If you want to exercise more:

If exercise is a should not a want for you, here's what I think.

Again two things.


Go outside more. Most people when they are outside don't just stand there. We are not counting lying at the beach.

If you are outside you will walk, pull weeds, shovel snow, talk to the neighbours.


Do more around the house.

This is my observation.

All those fit old ladies are really busy. You see them mowing their own lawns. Spring cleaning. They hustle and they bustle. From the minute they get up until the minute they go to bed.

A distant relative by marriage just died.

She was one of those tiny busy old Greek ladies, she cooked, cleaned, gardened full time nearly to the end of her life. 

She died a few weeks ago at 105.

Without paying any attention to her breathe or her core.

Finally, since I appear to be kicking off 2019 in a know it all mood.

See the funny side in everything. Particularly yourself.

Believe me it's there.

Happy New Year



Sue said...

I love this. All of it and especially the part about many scientists. Boundaries are our friends. Hard to to set, hard to keep, and wonderful to use. Thank you for my first belly laugh of 2019!

Ernestine Ranson said...

As always, good practical advice. I wish you and your family a happy and especially, healthy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wisdom, Barbara!

~ Your new fan in Cali

joy zemrock said...

You say so well what I think often! I watch friends and co-workers run themselves into the ground trying to be everything and do everything. I finally hit the age where I know my limits and I know when to say no. My goal is to age well, and be happy. Thank you for your honesty!

Jypsea Rose said...

Happy New Year.

Nailed it.
As per usual.

Anonymous said...

As usual you are a great joy for me. Happy 2019.


Jan said...

I'm printing this out and putting it someplace where I'll see it everyday.

Bunny said...

Wonderful post,Barb. Yes, about those fit old ladies! They move and they live! Now, I need to go find some baklava!

Anonymous said...

Oh, did I ever need this sage advice today.
Thank you, Barb and Happy New Year.

Donna E

bbarna said...

Great advice as always. Only one I would add. As a serious introvert, I would stay in my house and sew for days and days, or putter around in the kitchen. Sometimes you need to say yes...even if it is uncomfortable. You might have more fun than you think. I am trying to push out of my comfort zone at least once a month this year...that is it. Take care and Happy New Year.
Barb from Prince George.

Maryellensews said...

Another great post with lots of inspiration

Queen Marlene said...

Queen Marlene said...
How true, I live right on a beach in Australia and I see the same fanatical people (almost all women) power walking past our house. All alone, all many times per day, all weather from freezing cold to searing heat. I often wonder if they have other people in their lives, they obviously don't sew, knit or do other crafts. They wouldn't have any time to garden or keep their house in order. There are so many pleasurable things to do in life and in my view power walking to the extreme is not one of them. Love your blog, all the best for the New Year.

Alexandra said...

Great advice there, as always. Happy New Year! May it be filled with beautiful fabrics, well-drafted patterns, and tools that work exactly as advertised.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! Thank you very much for your wonderful post today. I love to read your posts. Take care and I hope your year ahead is a good one. Best wishes to you from Dianne.

tpotty28 said...

Great post full of sage advice. Good old fashioned common sense that has stood us in good stead for generations until we all became a bit too connected and concerned about other people's opinions. There is one other thing we can do if we feel overwhelmed - disconnect from the internet (well apart from wise and grounding sewing blogs).

beckster said...

I have been trying to set boundaries most of my adult life, and although I am getting better at it, I still struggle at times. The post is filled with sage advice, but I have found that a lot of people never learn to take advice and seem to want to find their own answers to everything. I don't do that anymore. I try what other people recommend, and I often find I don't have to reinvent the wheel! Keep it coming, Barbara, I really admire your approach to life, what you do for others, and how you keep yourself in the middle of the road. Thanks for being so open and sharing. I hope your 2019 continues to allow you to discover yourself and serve others without sacrificing yourself.

Marianne said...

Excellent advice. I also plan to print this out. It touches pretty much all things that matter. Happy New Year!

KS_Sews said...

As a <40 year old, I'm "supposed" to be into ALL THE THINGS! And all the apps!!! Meh. Though you'll have to rip my Apple Watch from my cold, lifeless wrist :)

I don't like going outside so I have to exercise. Also Meh. But I remembered how much I love yoga so I'll be treating myself to plenty of that for 2019.

I can't say I WANT to live to be 105 years old...but I agree. The more active people age better.

Patricia said...

You are such a wise woman! Thank you for the only practical and sensible approach going around re New Year. I'm printing it out too, need a reminder sometimes. I hope you have a wonderful year, health and happiness to you and your delightful family.

Kathy Zachry said...

Hi, Barbara. I think I love you! Your writing is so witty, pithy, down-to-earth, and sometimes downright funny. Just genuine. So needed in this world. I’m hoping to come to Tulsa this spring to your class - I just want to see and hear you in person. Your blog is a delight - thank you!
Your friend, Kathy Zachry

Sarah Wale said...

Happy New Year, Barbara! Yet again you've scored a hole in one with your down to earth commonsense approach to everything! I am looking forward to another great year of your tips on love, life and the universe - oh, and most importantly, sewing! have a healthy, fruitful and happy 2019.

Leigh said...

Happy New Year Barbara! We went to that ice cream place a couple weeks ago and I fondly remembered our outing last spring. May you have many such pleasures this coming year. :)

Deborah said...

Hello Barbara. Just wanted to let you know I brought the book (kimona) to the ASG meeting this evening. Suzanne said she would give it to you ASAP. Sorry for the delay.

Barbara said...

So sorry I missed the meeting Deborah, had to finish sewing something to go on a plane tomorrow morning. Many thanks for the book!

Barbara said...

Leigh so nice to hear from you! That was such a fun day in Portland, many thanks.